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“The leaks are real, but the news is fake”: Trump’s wild press conference

President Donald Trump attacked the media and dismissed any suggestion of a White House in crisis during a bizarre press conference at the White House Thursday afternoon.

In the midst of the fallout from the Monday-night resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — fallout that’s prompted even greater scrutiny of Trump’s and his team’s connections to Russia — the president took questions from the press for more than an hour. This despite the fact that Trump said the press was filled with “hatred” for him, as he repeatedly attacked the media’s credibility, telling the assembled journalists that “the public doesn’t believe you anymore.”


The press “will not tell you the truth,” Trump said, which was why he was speaking “directly to the American people.”

Trump attacked the leaks to journalists that ultimately led to Flynn’s resignation, and he dismissed any reported connections to Russia. He also announced that a new immigration executive order, to be signed as early as next week, would be tailored to the recent court decisions that effectively halted the travel ban he signed in late January.

Trump opened the press conference by announcing his new nominee for labor secretary would be Alex Acosta, the dean of Florida International University College of Law. Trump’s original nominee, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew from the confirmation process Wednesday amid multiple controversies. Trump also discussed DACA, ISIS, the recent deployment of Russian military assets, Hillary Clinton’s emails, WikiLeaks, and his favorite cable news morning show, “Fox and Friends.”

Here are some of the president’s key quotes:

On the media
“I’ve never seen more dishonest media than frankly, the political media. I thought the financial media was much better, much more honest.”

On his presidency
“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

On firing Michael Flynn
“He didn’t tell the vice president of the United States the facts. And then he didn’t remember. And that just wasn’t acceptable to me.”

On leaks to the press
“I’ve actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks. They’re put out by people either in agencies — I think you’ll see it stopping because now we have our people in.”


On anti-Semitism
“I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life.”

On Hillary Clinton and Russia
“I didn’t do anything for Russia. I’ve done nothing for Russia. Hillary Clinton gave them 20 percent of our uranium. Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember? With the stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks. Here, take a look. He looked at her like, what the hell is she doing with that cheap plastic button? Hillary Clinton — that was the reset, remember it said reset?”

On suggestions that he coordinated with the Russian government to win the presidency
“Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia. Not that I wouldn’t. I just have nobody to speak to.”

On deals with Russia
“Putin probably assumes that he can’t make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal. I can’t believe I’m saying I’m a politician, but I guess that’s what I am now. Because, look, it would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we’re not going to make a deal.”

On former foreign policy adviser Carter Page and his alleged ties to Russia
“I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. And he actually said he was a very low-level member of, I think, a committee for a short period of time. I don’t think I ever met him. Now, it’s possible that I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I don’t think I ever met him. I didn’t talk to him ever.”


On former campaign manager Paul Manafort communicating with Russia during the campaign
“That’s Mr. Manafort, who’s by the way a respected man. He’s a respected man. But I think he represented the Ukraine or Ukraine government or somebody, but everybody — people knew that. Everybody knew that.”

On winning the Electoral College
“We got 306 [electoral votes] because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before, so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.”

On a reporter subsequently pointing out that George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama all won more electoral votes
“Well, I don’t know, I was given that information. I was given — I actually, I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory, do you agree with that?”

On North Korea and Iran
“I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea. And I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do with Iran. You know why? Because they shouldn’t know. And eventually, you guys are going to get tired of asking that question.”

On drugs
“We’ve ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs. We’re becoming a drug-infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We are not going to let it happen any longer.”

On getting his cabinet confirmed
“I think we’re setting a record, or close to a record, in the time of approval of a Cabinet. I mean, the numbers are crazy. When I’m looking, some of them had them approved immediately. I’m going forever and I still have a lot of people that we’re waiting for. And that’s all [the Senate Democrats] are doing, is delaying. And you look at [Senate Minority leader Chuck] Schumer and the mess that he’s got over there and they have nothing going. The only thing they can do is delay. And, you know, I think that they’d be better served by, you know, approving and making sure that they’re happy and everybody’s good.”

“DACA is a very difficult subject for me — you have these incredible kids. We are going to deal with DACA with heart.”

On himself
“I’m really not a bad person, by the way.”