In a series of tweets on Monday morning, President Donald Trump attacked what he called the “fake news” media for what he suggested was unfair news coverage of himself and his administration.
“With all of the success that our Country is having, including the just released jobs numbers which are off the charts, the Fake News & totally dishonest Media concerning me and my presidency has never been worse,” Trump wrote in one of his tweets. “Many have become crazed lunatics who have given up on the TRUTH!”
But the president seemed to contradict his own words from last month in a tweet he made later on Monday, making it difficult to ascertain what his administration’s position is on withdrawal from Syria or whether ISIS has been defeated or not in the eyes of the White House.
Trump again attacked an institution of the media in his tweet.
“The Failing New York Times has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria. No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!”
Trump told reporters over the weekend that the fight against the terrorist organization wouldn’t end and that troops wouldn’t depart from Syria “until ISIS is gone,” per reporting from National Public Radio.
"It’s not clear who is speaking for the US government. Is it President Trump or NSA John Bolton?… I think this is really problematic because we don’t know what the policy of the US government is.” @MaxBoot reacts to John Bolton discussing timeline for Syria troop withdrawal. pic.twitter.com/z3kvudh1vv— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) January 6, 2019
But as the New York Times noted in their reporting that what Trump said was inaccurate, the president himself has made contradictory statements about the fight against ISIS in the past. On December 19, Trump tweeted out that the threat ISIS posed had been eradicated.
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” Trump said in his tweet. The administration later followed up Trump’s statement online with additional details, including troop withdrawal that would begin within 30 days of that social media posting.
On Sunday, Trump said that his administration had never placed such a short timeframe for exiting Syria. As he left for meetings at Camp David, Trump said that four months had always been what the administration had in mind.
The inconsistent messaging from Trump and his advisers has led the media to question what exactly is going on with the administration’s plans for Syria and ISIS. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), one of Trump’s strongest allies in the Senate, was asked during an interview with CBS News about the whole ordeal.
“This is the reality setting in that you’ve got to plan this out,” Graham said.