Trump Takes on 'Damned Dishonest' Media at Phoenix Rally

Susan Jones | August 23, 2017 | 7:40am EDT
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President Donald Trump applauds for his appreciative audience in Phoenix on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - A frustrated President Donald Trump spent much of his time criticizing and contradicting the news media at his rally in Phoenix last night.

In the lead-up to Trump's appearance on stage, Vice President Mike Pence promised the crowd, "Tonight, you will hear the president speak about his agenda. And his vision to make America great again."

But for the first 45 minutes of his off-the-cuff speech, President Trump railed against the media coverage of Charlottesville; repeated what he'd said about the protest and how it had been misreported; quoted himself at length, but selectively; and accused the media of dividing the country:

“It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fermenting (sic) divisions and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage,” the president said.

Warming up to his main subject -- the "damned dishonest" media -- Trump said:

What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America. And tonight, this entire arena stands united in forceful combination condemnation of the thugs who perpetrate hatred and violence. But the very dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras-- [sustained booing]. So the -- and I mean truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories, they have no sources in many cases. They say, 'A source says.' There is no such thing but they don't report the facts.

Just like they don't want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry, and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the white supremacist, and the KKK. I openly called for unity, healing, and love. And they know it because they were all there. So what I did is -- so what I did, I thought I'd take just a second, and I'm really doing this more than anything else because you know where my heart is. Okay? I'm really doing this to show you how damned dishonest these people are. So here is my first statement when I heard about Charlottesville...

"I don't want to bore you with this," Trump said. He then repeated portions of his first statement on Charlottesville -- but not the part where he blamed "many sides" for the violence. "It shows you how dishonest they are. And most of you know this anyway. So here's what I said, really fast, here's what I said on Saturday..."

He went on and on.

-- "Dishonest people...I hope they're showing how many people are in this room. But they won't. They don't even do that. The only time they show the crowds is when there's a disruptor or an anarchist in the room."

-- "What happens with them, if they are doing a story, I know if it's honest or false. It's so dishonest because it's like the failing New York Times, which is so bad. Or The Washington Post, which I call a lobbying tool for Amazon. Or CNN, so bad and so pathetic. Their ratings are going down. Right? [Chants of "CNN sucks"] All the networks -- CNN is really bad, but all the networks -- ABC this morning, I don't watch it much, but I am watching in the morning. They have little George Stephanopoulos talking to Nikki Haley. Little George. And he talks about the speech I made last night. Believe it or not, it got great reviews..."

-- "Did they report that I said racism is evil? You know why? Because they are very dishonest people. So I said racism is evil. They only choose -- they put on these real lightweights all around the table that nobody has ever heard of. They all say what a bad guy I am. And then you wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings. They fired Jeffrey Lord. Poor Jeffrey..."

-- "I was a good student. I always hear about the elite. I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger and more beautiful apartment and I live in the white house too, which is really great. You know what? I think we are the elites. They are not the elites. The point is, I did not want to bore you because you understand where I'm coming from -- you people understand. The point is, those were three different -- two statements. The words were perfect. They only take out anything they can think of and for the most part, all they do is complain. But they don't put on those words. They don't put on me saying those words. The media can attack me but where I draw the line is when they attack you, when they attacked the decency of our supporters..."

-- "It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fermenting (sic) divisions and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that..."

-- "We're smart people. These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them. Not alll of them. You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people. And they're bad people. And I really think they don't like our country. I really believe that. And I don't believe they are going to change, and that's why I do this. If they change, I would never say it -- the only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.'

-- "Oh, That's so funny. Look back there. The live, red lights --  They're turning those suckers off fast, those live red lights. They are turning those lights off fast."

-- "Like CNN. CNN does not want its falling viewership to watch what I'm saying tonight, I can tell you. I mean, the advantage I have, the advantage I have is that we do have a big voice. And you k now, they are always saying Twitter or social media -- if I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be able to get the word out. I probably wouldn't be standing here, right? I probably wouldn't be standing here. If I don't have social media, I probably would not be standing. And do you ever notice, when I go on and I'll put like out a tweet or a couple of tweets, 'He's in a Twitter storm.' I don't do Twitter storms. You put out a little tweet, "I'm going to be with the veterans today." They'll say, Donald Trump is in a "Twitterstorm." These are sick people."

-- "You know the thing I don't understand? You would think -- you would think they'd want to make our country great again. And I honestly believe they don't. I honestly believe it. If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media. Which would rather get ratings and clicks than tell the truth."

-- "The Washington Post is terrible. But these are dishonest -- Let me tell you, you have some great honest networks. I must tell you, Fox has treated me fairly. They've treated me fairly..."

-- Oh boy, those cameras are going off. Oh, wow. Why don't you just fold them up and take them home? Those cameras are going off. Wow. That's the one thing, they are very nervous to have me on live television because this can't happen. You know what? I'm a person that wants to tell the truth. I'm an honest person. What I'm saying, you know is exactly right. Not only does the media give a platform to hate groups, but the media turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets. To failures of our public schools, destruction of our wealth at the hands of the terrible, terrible trade deals made by politicians that should have never been allowed to be politicians..."

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