President Donald Trump, while speaking to reporters on Friday with United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, scoffed at questions aimed toward him regarding an interview in which he criticized her leadership, calling it “fake news.”
There’s just one problem with his assertions: The interview was recorded, and just about everyone and their mother in the U.K. has heard it.
“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” he said.
“She should negotiate the best way she knows how. But it is too bad what is going on,” he added.
Trump then contradicted his earlier statements from the day before in a press conference on Friday.
“Whatever you do is OK with us, just make sure we can trade together, that's all that matters,” he said, directing his comments toward May.
Trump further suggested that The Sun interview was doctored and that he had evidence proving he had also spoken highly of May during the same interview.
“It’s called fake news, and we solve a lot of problems with the good old recording instrument,” he told reporters Friday.
Trump also attacked CNN reporters who tried to ask him questions.
“CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN,” he said.
He then allowed his favorite network to ask a question.
“John Roberts from Fox. Let’s go to a real network,” he said.
"CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN. John Roberts from Fox. Let's go to a real network." pic.twitter.com/e2TcEu6G7e— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 13, 2018
It’s unclear whether Trump was planning to release his supposed proof of The Sun withholding his praise of the prime minister. It’s unlikely he even did so, as he’s made similar threats about recordings existing in the past that didn’t ever pan out.
Nevertheless, even if such doubtful evidence does exist, it doesn’t change the fact that Trump was recorded saying the words that The Sun reported on. He did criticize her Brexit plan, and he did say her plan could threaten trade relations between the two countries.
Saying otherwise, or using his favorite phrase of “fake news” to deflect those who point out he did in fact say those words, is disingenuous, and his attacks on the media are bordering on autocratic. Whenever he brings up the term “fake news,” you can usually count on whatever Trump says afterward to be a lie — and lying is something this president is accustomed to doing far too often when he’s caught in an embarrassing moment.