UPDATED with video President Donald Trump gave his first big primetime network interview tonight, and took the opportunity to revisit his old nemeses, the media. Trump told ABC News anchor David Muir that the press covered his CIA speech “very inaccurately” (except for Fox), that the author of the infamous Pew Report is now “groveling” for the media, and that he knows more about terrorism than Muir does.
Here’s what the President had to say about the Fourth Estate. Watch the clip above to hear what Trump says about media coverage of his CIA speech (at around the 8:25 mark) and the “groveling” remark (at the 6:05 point).
On TV coverage of his media-bashing speech at the CIA: “People loved it. They loved it. They gave me a standing ovation for a long period of time. They never even sat down, most of them, during the speech. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. I hate to say this to you and you probably won’t put it on but turn on Fox and see how it was covered. And see how people respond to that speech.”
“That speech was a big hit, a big success — success. And then I came back and I watched you on television and a couple of others…(a)nd they tried to demean…Not you personally but your network — and they tried to demean the speech. And I know when things are good or bad. A poll just came out on my inauguration speech which was extraordinary that people loved it. Loved and liked. And it was an extraordinary poll.”
On TV coverage of inauguration speech: “That was some crowd. When I looked at the numbers that happened to come in from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches. I said the men and women that I was talking to who came out and voted will never be forgotten again. Therefore I won’t allow you or other people like you to demean that crowd and to demean the people that came to Washington, D.C., from faraway places because they like me. But more importantly they like what I’m saying.”
“…I think you’re demeaning by talking the way you’re talking. I think you’re demeaning. And that’s why I think a lot of people turned on you and turned on a lot of other people. And that’s why you have a 17 percent approval rating, which is pretty bad.”
Three to five million illegal votes? And what about that Pew Report? “Well, we’re gonna find out. But it could very well be that much. Absolutely. You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion.”
Muir tells Trump the author of the Pew Report, on which the president has based much of his information about illegal votes, disputes that interpretation: “Then he’s groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they wanna write something that you wanna hear but not necessarily millions of people wanna hear or have to hear.”
Whether the much-covered allegations of voter fraud undermine Trump’s credibility: “No, not at all because they didn’t come to me. Believe me. Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton. And if they didn’t vote, it would’ve been different in the popular.”
On global tensions: “David, I mean, I know you’re a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets.”
On extreme vetting of immigrants from Muslim nations: “The FBI is now investigating more people than ever before having to do with terror. They — and it’s from the group of people that came in. So look, look, our country has a lot of problems. Believe me. I know what the problems are even better than you do. They’re deep problems, they’re serious problems. We don’t need more.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.