WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump, who last month said he’s too busy “reading documents” to watch much television, said he decided to sign the GOP tax reform bill on Friday, ahead of the holidays, after tuning into TV news.
“I was going to wait for a formal signing sometime in early January, but then I watched the news this morning and they were all saying, ‘Will he keep his promise? Will he sign it by Christmas?’” Trump said during a small signing event at the White House.
“I called downstairs, I said, ‘Get it ready. We have to sign it now,’” Trump added.
The president has repeatedly claimed that his busy schedule and work ethic keeps him away from the tube.
“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television,” Trump said, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One during his trip to Asia last month. “I know they like to say that. People that don’t know me, they like to say I watch television — people with fake sources. You know, fake reporters, fake sources.”
“But I don’t get to watch much television,” he added. “Primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents. A lot. And different things. I actually read much more — I read you people much more than I watch television.”
The New York Times reported this month that Trump watches between 4 and 8 hours of television per day — part of what it described as “an hour-by-hour battle for self-preservation.” TV serves as the “ammunition” for his outbursts on Twitter, and his habit includes watching Fox News, CNN and hate-watching MSNBC, according to the Times.
As he so often does, Trump dismissed the story as fake news.
“Wrong!” he wrote to Twitter. “Also, I seldom, if ever, watch CNN or MSNBC, both of which I consider Fake News. I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the ‘dumbest man on television!’ Bad Reporting.”
During Friday’s impromptu bill signing in the Oval Office, Trump made clear it was the news media that influenced his decision.
“I didn’t want you folks to say that I wasn’t keeping my promise,” he told the press. “I am keeping my promise. I am signing it before Christmas. I said that the bill would be on my desk before Christmas, and you are holding me literally to that. So we did a rush job today. It’s not fancy, but it’s the Oval Office.”