World

'Fine-tuned machine' goes off the rails

US President rants at media in solo press conference

US President Donald Trump's first gripe came three minutes into his first solo news conference on Thursday, when he accused reporters of ignoring a poll showing him with a 55 per cent approval rating - a figure at odds with most other surveys.

From there, his criticism of the media went from barbed to personal in a cutting assessment of what he viewed as unfair coverage of his first few weeks in office.

Things came to such a head that even the pro-Trump Fox News criticised him for his comments.

Here are some of the memorable quotes from his 77-minute conference.

WHEN HE LET FLY AT MEDIA

"Tomorrow, they will say, 'Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.' I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you.

"You know, you're dishonest people. But I'm not ranting and raving. I love this. I'm having a good time doing it."

ON REPORTS OF 
HIS CAMPAIGN'S CONTACT WITH RUSSIA

"The leaks are real. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake."

ON NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER MICHAEL FLYNN'S RESIGNATION

"I don't think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right. The thing is, he didn't tell our Vice-President properly and then he said he didn't remember."

ON REPORTS ABOUT 
HIS CHAOTIC FIRST MONTH

"To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country.

"The press, honestly, is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.

"I turn on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos - chaos.

"Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can't get my Cabinet approved."

ON THE UPTICK IN 
ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE US

"I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number 2, racism - the least racist person."

TESTY EXCHANGE

"Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they've received of being fake when you're providing information that's not accurate?"

- A TV reporter to Mr Trump over the issue of margin of victory in the US Electoral College. Mr Trump had asserted earlier in the news conference that his win was the "biggest" since fellow Republican Ronald Reagan, who was elected in 1980 and 1984. The reporter corrected Mr Trump in real time, noting Mr Barack Obama's and Mr George W Bush's tallies were higher than his.

"I was given that information. Actually, I've seen that information around."

- Mr Trump's reply, blaming his staff. He then called on another reporter.

ON RUSSIAN 
MILITARY MANOEUVRES

"The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that's 30 miles off shore right out of the water. Everyone in this country's going to say, 'Oh, it's so great.' That's not great. That's not great. Look, it would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we're not going to make a deal.

"Don't forget, we're a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. Nuclear holocaust would be like no other."

Sources: Reuters, AFP, Washington Post, CNN

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