President Donald Trump took a detour from his remarks during an African American History Month listening session on Wednesday to mock CNN as “fake news” and relitigate an erroneous report that a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office.
“You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office,” Trump said. “And it turned out that that was fake news. Fake news.”
He said the statue is “cherished” and one of his “favorite things.”
“They said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched,” Trump said. “So I think it was a disgrace. But that’s the way the press is, very unfortunate.”
Time Magazine reporter Zeke Miller originally wrote to journalists on Inauguration Day that the bust of King had been removed from the Oval Office. After receiving confirmation from a White House aide that the bust was still in place, Miller spent the next several days sending corrections to reporters and apologizing for his error to White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump himself, according to Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs.
Later in his remarks, Trump thanked CNN commentator Paris Dennard for doing “an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community.”
“He’s all by himself, seven people and Paris, but I’ll take Paris over the seven,” Trump said. “But I don’t watch CNN so I don’t get to see you as much. I don’t like watching fake news.”
“None of us watch it either,” somebody replied, to laughter from the room.
“Fox has treated me very nice, wherever Fox is,” Trump added. “Thank you.”
The White House has stopped sending representatives to appear on CNN, a network Trump has feuded with since he was just a candidate for the presidency, according to a Politico report published Tuesday.