In Sunday morning tweets, Trump touted Republican Greg Gianforte’s win in a closely watched Montana House race, then went on to declare any leaks out of the White House as “fake news.”
Trump made no mention that Gianforte faces an assault charge stemming from an altercation with a reporter the day before the special election. He called Thursday’s results a “big win in Montana for Republicans” before saying the race was only a “big deal to Dems & Fake News until the Republican won.” At that point, he said, it became “poorly covered.”
Many Twitter users responded to Trump’s claim by continuing to focus on Gianforte’s response when Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was asking him a question on Wednesday. According to audio evidence and eyewitnesses, Gianforte lost his temper and body-slammed him to the ground, prompting the misdemeanor assault charge against the Republican.
Gianforte, in his victory speech Thursday night, apologized for his actions and said, “I should not have treated that reporter that way.”
Having news to address on other fronts that broke while he was overseas, Trump went on to raise concern about reporters’ “sources.” He tweeted that “it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers.”
#FakeNews is the enemy!” he declared.
His comments follow more reports on the investigation into possible contacts both current and former members of his administration have had with Russian officials. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a top White House advisor, is the latest individual to be scrutinized, following a Washington Post report that he sought to create a secret back channel to open communications with Russia.
The president has previously argued against news outlets being able to use anonymous sources, even when he, himself, has cited such sources for inaccurate claims.
He also has declared that “nobody loves [the First Amendment] better than me.”
Another Sunday tweet by Trump described British Prime Minister Theresa May as “very angry” over leaks to the U.S. media about last week’s suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people. Trump has ordered an investigation into the source of the leaks.