Trump’s scattershot comments in recent days paint a picture of a president who constantly feels under-appreciated and under siege as he obsesses over his reelection bid.
President Donald Trump aired a litany of grievances on Tuesday, claiming he has a “stacked deck” against him in 2020, putting down his top aide’s husband as a “total loser” and renewing his attacks on the late Sen. John McCain.
“I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be,” the president said, matter-of-factly, less than seven months after the passing of the longtime senator and one-time prisoner of war.
The comments capped another eyebrow-raising few days for Trump, even by the standards of a man who has regularly flouted the conventions of the presidency. On Sunday alone, Trump sent out 29 tweets and retweets that touched on everything from General Motors to his media criticism of Fox News — a consequence, people close to him say, of another isolated weekend in the White House.
Taken together, Trump’s scattershot comments paint a picture of a president who constantly feels under-appreciated and under siege as he obsesses over his upcoming reelection bid. Trump’s outbursts come after he faced an embarrassing rebuke last week, when 12 Republican senators voted against his national emergency declaration, prompting the first veto of his presidency.
The day began, as it almost always does, on Twitter.
“The Fake News Media has NEVER been more Dishonest or Corrupt than it is right now,” the president wrote on Twitter at 5:24 a.m. “There has never been a time like this in American History. Very exciting but also, very sad! Fake News is the absolute Enemy of the People and our Country itself!
It was a continuation of an airing of Twitter complaints that stretched through the weekend and into Monday afternoon, when the president expressed frustration that he wasn’t getting enough attention for donating his salary to federal agencies, even as he insisted he didn’t want any credit.
“While the press doesn’t like writing about it, nor do I need them to, I donate my yearly Presidential salary of $400,000.00 to different agencies throughout the year, this to Homeland Security,” Trump wrote on Twitter, attaching a photo of a check for $100,000 to the Homeland Security Department. “If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay from the FAKE NEWS MEDIA!
Trump took a break from Twitter on Tuesday to meet with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been dubbed the “Trump of the tropics.” And Trump seemed to bask in Bolsonaro’s adoration after weathering more than two years of scorn from other heads of state.
“I’m very proud to hear the president use the term fake news,” Trump said of Bolsonaro at one point.
But even as he touted the close relationship between the United States and Brazil, Trump was eager to talk about the many other issues on his mind. Asked about McCain, Trump launched into a lengthy recounting of the senator’s decision to vote against a measure to repeal Obamacare.
“I’m very unhappy that he didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare as you know,” Trump said. “He campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years, and then he got to a vote, and he said thumbs down. And our country would have saved a trillion dollars and we would have had great healthcare.”
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon with Bolsonaro, Trump also weighed in on what he sees as tech companies’ bias against conservatives. “It seems to be if they are conservative, if they are Republicans, in a certain group, there is discrimination,” Trump said.
He was also quick to allege that companies like Twitter and Facebook were colluding to suppress Republicans, a notable accusation considering the president has spent months going after Democrats for what he says are accusations of Trump-Russia collusion made without clear evidence.
“We use the word collusion loosely all the time and I will tell you there is collusion with respect to [social media companies], because something has to be going on,” Trump said.
It’s a “stacked deck” against him, the president complained, when it comes to social media and television news.
“Look at what is happening with the networks, what is happening with different shows and it’s hard to believe we win,” he said. “But I tell you what it really shows, the people are smart. The people get it.”
Earlier Tuesday, the president launched his most pointed attack to date on lawyer George Conway, the husband of his senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway. “A total loser!” he wrote on Twitter, retweeting an allegation from Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale that Trump rejected Conway for a job in the administration that “he desperately wanted.”
“LOL,” Conway responded on Twitter, before elaborating in a Washington Post interview.
“It’s so maddening to watch,” said Conway, a veteran conservative Washington attorney. “The mendacity, the incompetence, it’s just maddening to watch. The tweeting is just the way to get it out of the way, so I can get it off my chest and move on with my life that day. That’s basically it. Frankly, it’s so I don’t end up screaming at her about it.”