A day after President Donald Trump spoke with bipartisan members of Congress during a meeting about immigration — one in which he contradicted himself while showing a weak grasp of foreign policy — the president treated the White House as if it were the make-believe boardroom in "The Apprentice."
Trump invited media members back into the West Wing for a Cabinet meeting — often the place where administration members effusively praise him in front of the cameras — and bragged about his "performance" during Tuesday's nearly hour-long meeting.
The president started out Wednesday by welcoming the media to the "studio" and trying to clarify his confusing stance on immigration. But he quickly took a detour from his prepared remarks to freestyle about what "the media" thought of his "performance."
Actually, it was reported as incredibly good. And my performance — you know, some of them called it a performance. I consider it work. But it got great reviews by everybody, other than two networks, who were phenomenal for about two hours. Then after that they were called by their bosses, and said, "oh, wait a minute!" Unfortunately, a lot of those anchors sent us letters saying that was one of the greatest meetings they've ever witnessed. And they were great. For about two hours, they were phenomenal.
And then they went a little bit south on us, but not that bad. It was fine.
A quick recap of what happened Tuesday: Trump, meeting with Republicans and Democrats, agreed to a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would allow for DACA recipients — that is, undocumented immigrants who have been living here for years after being brought to the country as children — to be addressed without any other conditions attached. Trump's response to Feinstein sparked the Republicans at the meeting to interject and propose their bill instead, which Trump agreed to do as well.
But on Wednesday, Trump continued on his detour, talking about how cable news anchors covered the meeting.
"It got great reviews by everybody other than two networks, who were phenomenal for about two hours," the president noted. He went on to claim that he received messages of support from anchors following Tuesday's White House meeting.
"They probably wished they didn't send us those letters of congratulations, but it was good," Trump said. "I'm sure their ratings were fantastic. They always are."
Then, he paused, looked at the words written on the paper in front of him, and decided to keep talking about himself anyway.
"Which is why I think the media will ultimately support Trump in the end," he said. "Because they're going to say, If Trump doesn't win in three years, we'll all be out of business. We'll all be out of business."
That the president cares most about how he's being treated and what his ratings were isn't a surprise. But on Wednesday, hours before he was set to debut his Fake News Awards, Trump delivered some questionable facts himself. We should focus on Trump's claim that anchors were "sending letters" — whether they be on stationery or via email — to the White House. Because that is a verifiable claim that could easily be debunked, just like, as the video below shows, Trump's claim that he'd lose a lot of money thanks to the tax bill the GOP passed last year.
In a little more than a week, Trump will have been in office for a full year. During that time, Trump has made more than 2,000 false or misleading claims, according to The Washington Post. That's important because Trump also said Wednesday that he wanted to reform the libel laws in the country, repeating comments he made on the campaign trail in 2016.
Calling the country's libel laws "a disgrace," Trump said, "We are going to take a strong look at our country's libel laws so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts." The president appar not realizing that that's essentially what the country's libel laws already are.
On the campaign trail, Trump said that Ted Cruz's father was "with Lee Harvey Oswald" prior to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He opened his campaign by saying Mexican rapists were coming to the United States, and rose to the political spotlight by saying that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
So much for wanting to promote the truth.