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Donald Trump attacks media on a typical twitter war weekend

On weekdays, others take over, and nicely. The daily briefing at the White House by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, for instance, is covered live by most major and minor television news channel, dropping everything else that might be happening then.

Donald Trump Presidency Updated: Apr 02, 2017 21:47 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,Chuck Todd,Trump in twitter
People wearing masks of US President Donald Trump take part in the 32nd Annual April Fools’ Day Parade in New York. The theme for this year’s parade is “MAKE RUSSIA GREAT AGAIN!” (AFP)

It’s Sunday morning, and President Donald Trump is at work, trying to deflect focus away from his Russia troubles, keep hopes alive for Republicans’ plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, and ripping into, no surprises, “fake news media”.

“The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers,” the president wrote in a tweet, seeking to turn around the controversy over his campaign aides’ alleged links to Russia. That was at 9:34 am.

Just a few minutes before, at 8:56 am, he tweeted about healthcare: “Anybody (especially Fake News media) who thinks that Repeal & Replace of ObamaCare is dead does not know the love and strength in R (Republican) Party!”

He added, in another post: “Talks on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.”

Trump took to twitter this weekend to reshape a narrative taking ground of his young presidency bedeviled by the controversy about his campaign’s alleged links to Russia being investigated by the FBI and two congressional panels.

And hit hard by the healthcare fiasco, a legislative defeat inflicted on him by a renegade group of lawmakers from his own party that severely dented his image of a consummate deal-maker and raised questions about his administrative abilities.

That has hurt him, evidently, as he cannot let go of it. On Saturday he tweeted, “The failing @nytimes finally gets it - “In places where no insurance company offers plans, there will be no way for ObamaCare customers to....use subsidies to buy health plans.” In other words, Ocare is dead. Good things will happen, however, either with Republicans or Dems.”

But the president is just as eager, if not more, to address the Russia scandal, which he tried to offset with his own unsubstantiated allegation that he was surveilled by the Obama administration.

His Saturday tweets started with calling out to a TV news anchor he called “Sleepy Eyed Chuck Todd”, to shift his focus from the “Fake Russia/Trump story” and get to the “OBAMA SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL”.

Trump first alleged President Barack Obama had his “wires tapped” in an early morning tweet from his Florida resort on March 4, triggering a controversy that has dogged him since, popping up even at his news briefing with German chancellor Angela Merkel. And it has now embroiled the White House in a fresh row over allegations it plotted with a congressional panel to find evidence of the president’s astounding claims.

And he stayed with the issue Saturday afternoon. “Wow, @FoxNews just reporting big news. Source: “Official behind unmasking is high up. Known Intel official is responsible. Some unmasked … not associated with Russia. Trump team spied on before he was nominated.” If this is true, does not get much bigger. Would be sad for US.”

All the president had to do was pick up the phone and direct any of the 17 American Intelligence agencies purportedly responsible for it to tell him exactly what had happened and who in the Obama administration was “responsible”.

But as a long-time devotee of television news — one time, on the campaign trail, he said he gets his foreign policy ideas nd advise from TV talking heads — he had to wait for a TV broadcast, from Fox News this time.

First Published: Apr 02, 2017 15:06 IST