Friday, July 13, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called a recording of him "fake news."

Yesterday, Donald Trump gave an interview with the British tabloid The Sun. Today, at a joint press appearance with British Prime Minister Theresa May, the following things happened:

  • Trump said that he hadn't criticized May during the interview.

    I didn’t criticize the Prime Minister.

    But in reality, that is exactly what he did. He said that he'd told May how to handle the Brexit situation—

    I actually told Theresa May how to do [Brexit], but she didn't agree. She didn't listen to me.

    and that her government was in danger of falling because of her failure to follow his advice.

    It's too bad what's going on.

  • Trump said that the Sun interview left out nice things he'd said about May, specifically that it

    didn’t put in what I said about the Prime Minister.  And I said tremendous things

    But the Sun actually did quote him saying nice things about May:

    I think she is a nice person. I get along with her very nicely.

    For good measure, Trump endorsed May's rival, Boris Johnson, who just resigned from her Cabinet.

    I am just saying I think he would be a great Prime Minister. I think he’s got what it takes.

  • Trump said that the Sun interview—literally, his own words—was "fake news."

    It’s called fake news.

  • Trump said that there were recordings that would prove his "fake news" charge—

    Fortunately, we tend to record stories now, so we have it for your enjoyment, if you’d like it.  But we record when we deal with reporters... You know, we solve a lot of problems with the good old recording instrument.
    —but the Sun posted lengthy audio clips from the start, presumably made with some sort of good old recording instrument.

    In spite of Trump's invitation, the White House has refused to release any such recording.

So what's the problem here?

  • Accurate quotes backed up with clear audio of someone saying those words are not "fake news," no matter how badly a president wants you to think they are.