President Donald Trump, appearing today at a press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, at one point was so irked by a question from ABC News White House Correspondent Jon Karl that he brought up one of the network’s mistakes made earlier this week.
Karl asked Trump, “Even after all you have seen — ISIS freed, the humanitarian disaster — you don’t have any regret to giving [Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip] Erdogan the greenlight to invade?”
Trump said that he “didn’t give him the greenlight.”
“When you make a statement like that it is so deceptive,” POTUS said. “It is just the opposite of a greenlight.
“First of all,” he continued, “we have virtually no soldiers there. Mostly gone. Just a tiny group. They would have been in harm’s way. You have a massive army on the other side of the border.”
Trump said that he wrote a “very powerful” letter to Erdogan right after their phone conversation on October 6 but said that Turkey “has been wanting to do that for years, and frankly they have been fighting for many, many years. And when you ask a question like that, it is very deceptive, Jon. It is almost as deceptive as you showing all of the bombings taking place in Syria when it turned out that the bombing that showed on television took place in Kentucky. I am not even sure ABC apologized for that.”
Earlier this week, ABC News issued a correction after airing a video that was said to be of Turkish bombings at the Syrian border. In fact, it was of a 2017 gun demonstration in Kentucky. The network said that it “regrets the error.”
Karl didn’t address the video but went on with his questions to Trump. They included one about the criticism that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has made about Trump’s rhetoric toward the Kurds.
“Lindsay Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years,” Trump said of Graham’s criticisms.
The White House issued a statement after Trump’s October 6 conversation with Erdogan in which it said that “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria.”
Earlier in the press conference, Trump nevertheless said that Erdogan’s decision to enter Syria “didn’t surprise me because he has been wanting to do that for a long time.” He also said that the Kurds were “no angels.”
Graham wrote on Twitter before Trump’s press conference, “I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq.”
Karl is the current president of the White House Correspondents Association.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.