At Pa. rally, Trump trashes press as ‘fake, fake disgusting news’


Associated Press

WILKES-BARRE, PA.

Thundering that the media is the “fake, fake disgusting news,” President Donald Trump unleashed a torrent of grievances Thursday at a Pennsylvania campaign rally in which he cast journalists as his true political opponent.

Trump barnstormed in a state that he swiped from the Democrats in 2016 and that is home to a Senate seat he is trying to place in the Republicans’ column this fall. But the race between GOP U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta and two-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey took a back seat to Trump’s invectives against the media, which came amid a backdrop of antagonism to journalists from the White House and hostility from the thousands packed into a loud, overheated Wilkes-Barre arena.

“Whatever happened to the free press? Whatever happened to honest reporting?” Trump asked, pointing to the media in the back of the hall. “They don’t report it. They only make up stories.”

Time and time again, Trump denounced the press for underselling his accomplishments and doubting his political rise.

He tore into the media for diminishing what he accomplished at his Singapore summit with North Korea leader Kim Jung Un. He tore into the tough questioning he received in Helsinki when he met with Russia’s Vladimir Putin last month. And he began the speech with a 10-minute remembrance of his 2016 election night victory, bemoaning that Pennsylvania wasn’t the state to clinch the White House for him only because “the fake news refused to call it.”

With each denunciation, the crowd jeered and screamed at the press at the back of the arena.

Trump later said he remains “a little bit torn” about whether it would be better to shut down the government before or after the midterm elections in an effort to secure funding for his long-promised border wall. He added, “Whether it’s before or after, we’re either getting it or we’re closing down government.”

Meanwhile, in negotiations over a possible interview by prosecutors, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has offered the White House format changes, perhaps willing to limit some questions asked of Trump or accept some answers in writing, according to a person briefed on the proposal.

Talks between Trump’s lawyers and the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election have restarted in recent days, and it is not clear a deal will be struck.

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