Donald Trump admitted in a tweet just after midnight on Sunday what his critics have said since he moved into the White House — that his conduct on Twitter is “not at all presidential.”
Trump’s tweet touched on his frequent attacks on the media, and the president himself admitted that such behavior was not fitting of a president. But Trump claimed that he had no other choice.
“I know it is not at all ‘Presidential’ to hit back at the Corrupt Media, or people who work for the Corrupt Media, when they make false statements about me or the Trump Administration,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Problem is, if you don’t hit back, people believe the Fake News is true. So we’ll hit back!”
The admission drew a considerable amount of criticism for Trump, with many calling him out for furthering behavior that he himself has finally admitted is not presidential.
The Sunday morning tweet came in response to an attack Trump laid on MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch, who, on Saturday, had called Trump a criminal. As Mother Jones noted, the admission from Trump fueled the contention from critics that the president’s mental health is not up to par for the office he holds.
“He may have quickly (and predictably) justified his lack of presidential decorum, but the rare admission that his behavior might be outside the bounds of what’s normally expected of a president promoted a string of responses on Twitter. Most notably, the tweet gave one of his most outspoken adversaries another ripe opportunity to attack the president’s mental health,” the report noted.
Donald Trump has frequently attacked media outlets and journalists for stories that are critical of him, often deeming them “fake news,” even when these stories are proven to be true and accurate. He has also frequently justified his own attacks by saying he needs to “fight back” at those who criticize him, a defense that has been picked up by other White House officials.
The White House has also been criticized for its actions against journalists, including restricting access for those who have been critical of Donald Trump. This includes revoking the press pass for CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after Trump took issue with a testy exchange. The White House published doctored footage of Acosta holding onto the microphone that made it look as if he were aggressive with the staffer who was holding onto it, with the tactic drawing widespread criticism.