Shortly before 7 a.m. on Friday morning, Donald Trump noticed that the hosts of the Fox news program Fox & Friends were broadcasting their daily program from in front of the White House, and that gave Trump an inspiration.
“Wow, the highest rated (by far) morning show, @foxandfriends, is on the Front Lawn of the White House. Maybe I’ll have to take an unannounced trip down to see them?” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Trump made good on his announcement of the “unannounced” interview, strolling outside and speaking briefly with the Fox & Friends hosts — and then veering into a lengthy back-and-forth with a group of media members who surrounded him as he walked back toward the White House.
According to a CNBC account of what the network called Trump’s “off the cuff news conference,” Trump covered a wide range of topics, from the prospect of a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to his administration’s policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the Mexican border, to his praise for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
But during the course of the impromptu press briefing, Trump made a significant number of false statements, as well as some other bizarre assertions, so many that media organizations such as PolitiFact were forced to note that, “Trump said many inaccurate statements that needed fact-checking.”
Here, with video, are five of Trump’s most brazen falsehoods and bizarre statements from Friday morning’s spontaneous press “conference.”
In what was more a strange statement of opinion rather than a falsehood, Trump expressed a desire to have “my people” treat him with the deference that Kim Jong Un is treated in North Korea. He also, according to a New York Times account, called Kim a “strong head” of North Korea and defended his praise of Kim, saying, “I get hit because I went there, I gave him credibility. I think it’s great to give him credibility.”
In light of Trump’s lauding of Kim’s “strong” rule over North Korea, ABC News listed some of the human rights violations uncovered by a 2014 United Nations report on Kim’s regime. Those atrocities included, among many others:
• “A prisoner raped by a security officer, after which the officer pushed a wooden stick inside her vagina and beat her lower body, resulting in her death within a week.”
• “A prisoner’s newborn baby, fed to guard dogs and killed.”
• “An abortion induced by three men standing on a wooden plank placed on a pregnant prisoner’s stomach.”
• “Prisoners tortured and killed on account of their religious affiliation, with officials instructed ‘to wipe out the seed of [Christian] reactionaries.'”
But when he was pressed on the North Korea issue by CBS News reporter Weija Jiang, Trump told her to “be quiet” and called her “obnoxious,” according to a Yahoo! News report, and seen in the above video.
While claiming that, “I hate the children being taken away,” Trump blamed his administration’s policy of separating children at the Mexico border from their parents — a policy which, according to a CNN report, has already resulted in 2,000 children being torn from their families and placed in detention facilities — on Democrats, calling it a “a Democratic law.”
Trump’s claim that Democrats are behind the family separation policy is false, according to numerous experts.
“This has been debunked repeatedly,” wrote Washington Post columnist Philip Bump. “There is no ‘Democrats’ law’ that necessitates separating children from their parents. As people familiar with the rules regarding the handling of young people at the border made clear in interviews on Friday, the separation policy is a function of decisions made by Trump and his team.”
Responding to questions about his former 2016 campaign Chair Paul Manafort who, as the Inquisitr reported, was jailed on Friday in connection with the Robert Mueller-led investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia links, Trump claimed that Manafort had “nothing to do with our campaign,” and said that Manafort “worked for me, what, for 49 days or something, a very short period of time.”
In reality, Manafort worked for the Trump campaign for a full five months in 2016, as PolitiFact recounted, being hired in March of 2016 then quickly taking on additional responsibilities, including serving as the campaign’s chief TV spokesperson, until he was named chair and “chief strategist” on May 19. Manafort was finally forced out on August 19 over his ties to pro-Russian elements in Ukraine.
In fact, as seen in the above video from 2016, Trump was effusive in praising Manafort’s work during the campaign.
Asked about his response to the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report released yesterday that evaluated the FBI’s performance in the 2016 Hillary Clinton email investigation, as reported by the Inquisitr on Thursday, Trump claimed that the IG report “totally exonerates me” in the Russia investigation, saying that the report proved that there was “no collusion, no obstruction.” He also claimed that as a result of the IG report, “the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.”
The truth, however, is nothing at all like what Trump claimed in his statements. In fact, as the news site Vox pointed out, the IG report did not mention Russian collusion, Trump’s potential involvement in it, or the Mueller investigation at all. The report focused solely on FBI conduct during the Clinton investigation before the 2016 election and months before Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate Trump’s links to Russia.
Repeating a claim that he made in a Fox News interview earlier in the week, and reported by the Inquisitr, Trump boasted about persuading Kim to release “remains” of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War, claiming that “so many parents” have pleaded with him to bring back remains of their sons.
While Trump’s claim that parents of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War approached him to bring back remains of their sons is not impossible, it is to say the least, as the Washington Post put it, “very, very unlikely.” Citing population statistics from the early 1950s, the war was fought from 1950 to 1953, The Post determined that the average age of a Korean War soldier’s parents in 2016 would be between 102 and 111-years-old.