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Trump calls news media "crooked", "dishonest", "sick people" at Phoenix rally

(WDBJ)
Published: Aug. 23, 2017 at 11:23 AM CDT
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President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack on the news media at a campaign-style rally on Tuesday night and accused it of “fomenting” social and political divisions. (Read the transcript below.)

"These are sick people," Trump told a riled up crowd in Phoenix on Tuesday. "If you wanted to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media.

“It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage,” he added.

The attack came as Trump defended his response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month -- which began in protest of the planned removal of a monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee -- that left one dead and 19 injured after a car-ramming attack. Police arrested James Alex Fields, 20, and charged him with second-degree murder in the incident.

“They don't report the facts. Just like they don't want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-nazis, the white supremacists and the KKK,” Trump said. “I openly called for unity, healing and love and they know it because they were all there.”

The president went on to recount his previous public statements on the violence in Charlottesville, slamming those who said that “he must be racist.”

“I don't want to bore you with this, but it shows you how dishonest they are,” he said before he read a version of his initial statement on Charlottesville that omitted the part of the statement that faulted “many sides” for the violence that occurred.

Trump did not mention his previous comment that some "very fine people” were among the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who were protesting the removal of the Confederate-era statue.

Trump faced harsh criticism from political leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, over his initial response to last month's violence in Charlottesville and his failure to call out neo-Nazis and other hate groups by name.

At the rally on Tuesday, Trump said the news media had inaccurately reported his statements. The crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center appeared to agree with him as some yelled profanities and hurled insults at individual reporters throughout the night.

“I hit ’em with neo-Nazi,” Trump said as he defended his third statement on Charlottesville. "I hit ’em with everything. I got the white supremacist, the neo-Nazi. I got ’em all in there. Let’s see. KKK? We have KKK. I got ’em all. So they’re having a hard time. So what did they say, right? 'It should have been sooner; he’s a racist.'"

The president, however, did not acknowledge any of the politicians, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who also criticized his handling of the deadly Charlottesville protests.

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Transcript of Trump's comments regarding the news media:

TRUMP: What a crowd.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And just so you know from the Secret Service, there aren't too many people outside protesting, OK. That I can tell you.

(APPLAUSE)

A lot of people in here, a lot of people pouring right now. They can get them in. Whatever you can do, fire marshals, we'll appreciate it.

TRUMP: And I want to thank our great vice president, Mike Pence, for the introduction.

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As well as my friend Dr. Ben Carson.

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And thank you to a very, very special man, Franklin Graham, Reverend Franklin Graham, for leading us in prayer.

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And thank you too Alveda King, the niece of the great Dr. Martin Luther King.

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It really shows you that America is indeed a nation of faith, we know that.

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Well, I'm thrilled to be back in Phoenix, in the great state of Arizona.

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With so many thousands of hard-working American patriots.

You know I'd love it if the cameras could show this crowd, because it is rather incredible. It is incredible.

(APPLAUSE)

It is incredible.

As everybody here remembers, this was the scene of my first rally speech, right?

The crowds were so big, almost as big as tonight, that the people said right at the beginning, you know, there's something special happening here. And we went to center stage almost from day one in the debates. We love those debates.

(APPLAUSE)

But we went to center stage and we never left, right? All of us, we did it together.

You were there at the start. You've been there every single day since, and I will never forget. Believe me, Arizona, I will never forget.

(APPLAUSE)

And I'm here tonight to send a message: We are fully and totally committed to fighting for our agenda, and we will not stop until the job is done.

(APPLAUSE)

This evening, joined together with friends, we reaffirm our shared customs, traditions and values. We love our country. We celebrate our troops. We embrace our freedom. We respect our flag. We are proud of our history. We cherish our Constitution, including, by the way, the Second Amendment.

CROWD: USA! USA! USA!

TRUMP: We fully protect religious liberty. We believe in law and order. And we support the incredible men and of law enforcement.

(APPLAUSE)

And we pledge our allegiance to one nation under God.

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You always understood what Washington, D.C. did not. Our movement is a movement built on love. It's love for fellow citizens. It's love for struggling Americans who've been left behind, and love for every American child who deserves a chance to have all of their dreams come true.

TRUMP: From the inner cities to the rural outposts, from the Sun Belt to the Rust Belt, from east to west and north to south, our movement is built on the conviction that every American from every background is entitled to a government that puts their needs first.

(APPLAUSE)

It is finally time to rebuild our country, to take care of our people, and to fight for the jobs our great American workers deserve, and that's what we're doing.

(APPLAUSE)

CROWD: USA! USA! USA!

TRUMP: After our amazing election victory, the forgotten men and women -- remember we used to talk about the forgotten men and women before the election? Guess what? They're not forgotten...

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: ... anymore (ph), right? Anymore. No, they're not forgotten anymore folks. In fact, they're trying to figure you out. They're saying the obstructionists, how do we get them to vote for us? I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.

We believe that every American has the right to live with dignity. Respect for America demands respect for all of its people. Loyalty to our nation requires loyalty to each other, We all share the same home, the same dreams and the same hopes for a better future. A wound inflicted upon one member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. You saw last night. You saw last night.

(APPLAUSE)

Did anybody watch last night? Yes.

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When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one American suffers an injustice, all of America suffers together. We're all together.

It's time for us to follow the example of our brave American soldiers. And I was with a lot of them last night, Fort Myers.

(APPLAUSE)

No matter where they come from, no matter what faith they practice, they form a single unbreakable team. That's what we are. We're a team. As a nation, we're a team.

(APPLAUSE)

They're all united by their devotion to our country and to their mission. It's time for all of us to remember that we are all on the same team. We are all Americans, and we all believe right now in America first.

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And it's happening, and it's happening fast. I see all those red hats and white hats. It's all happening very fast. It's called "Make America Great Again." You see what's going on.

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It's coming back, very fast.

We want every child to succeed, every community to prosper and every struggling American to have a chance for a better life. What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America.

And tonight, this entire arena stands united in forceful condemnation of the thugs who perpetrate hatred and violence.

(APPLAUSE)

But the very dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras.

(BOOING)

So the -- and I mean truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories. They have no sources in many cases. They say "a source says" -- there is no such thing. But they don't report the facts. Just like they don't want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the White Supremacists, and the KKK.

(APPLAUSE)

I openly called for unity, healing and love, and they know it because they were all there. So what I did --

(APPLAUSE)

So what I did is I thought, I'd take just a second, and I'm really doing this more than anything else, because you know where my heart is, OK?

(APPLAUSE)

I'm really doing this to show you how damned dishonest these people are.

(BOOING)

So here is my first statement when I heard about Charlottesville -- and I have a home in Charlottesville, a lot of people don't know. Here's the first -- can't believe they haven't figured that one out yet. Now they know. Now they finally know. But I -- I just -- I don't want to bore you with this, but I -- it shows you how dishonest they are. And most of you know this anyway.

So here's what I said, really fast, here's what I said on Saturday: "We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia" -- this is me speaking. We condemn in the strongest, possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence." That's me speaking on Saturday.

(APPLAUSE)

Right after the event.

(APPLAUSE)

So I'm condemning the strongest, possible terms, "egregious display," "hatred, bigotry and violence." OK, I think I can't do much better, right? OK. But they didn't want to put this on. They had it on initially, but then one day he talked (ph) -- he didn't say it fast enough. He didn't do it on time. Why did it take a day? He must be a racist. It took a day.

(BOOING)

Dishonest people. So here is -- here is me -- I hope they're showing how many people are in this room, but they won't. They don't even do that. The only time they show the crowds is when there's a disrupter or an anarchist in the room. I call them anarchists. Because, believe me, we have plenty of anarchists. They don't want to talk about the anarchists.

So this is me -- "it has no place in America." I'm talking about hatred, bigotry and violence. "It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety, security in our society, and no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time." This is me speaking.

(APPLAUSE)

Here's further. This is on Saturday, the first one. I did this three times. "We have to come together as Americans with love for the nation and true affection, really" -- and I say this so strongly -- "true affection for each other." I didn't say true affection for you and you. I said for each other, all of us. All of us. All of us.

(APPLAUSE)

But they don't report it. They don't -- they just let it go.

"Above all else, we must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country, we love our God, and we love our flag."

(APPLAUSE)

CROWD: USA! USA! USA!

TRUMP: And then I went on, this is my first statement, and they said, remember they said, well, he wasn't specific enough. Why wasn't he more specific?

So in my second statement, I got really specific, and they said, why didn't he do it faster? The -- I'm telling you folks, look, look, I know these people probably better than anybody.

And a lot of people have a problem with it, because look, what happens with them, if they're doing a story about me, I know if it's honest or false.

If you're reading a story about somebody, you don't know. You assume it's honest, because it's like the failing New York Times, which is like so bad. It's so bad.

(BOOING)

Or the Washington Post, which call a lobbying tool for Amazon, OK, that's a lobbying tool for Amazon.

Or CNN, which is so bad and so pathetic, and their ratings are going down.

(BOOING)

Right?

CROWD: CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks!

TRUMP: But all the networks -- I mean, CNN is really bad, but ABC this morning -- I don't watch it much, but I'm watching in the morning, and they have little George Stephanopoulos talking to Nikki Haley, right? Little George.

And -- and he talks about the speech I made last night, which believe it or not, got great reviews, right?

(APPLAUSE)

They had a hard time. They were having a hard time because it was with soldiers, we were somber, we were truthful, we were doing -- we were saying things -- and it really did.

So, he talked about it for like that much, then he goes, "Let's get back to Charlottesville." Charlottesville. And Nikki was great. She's doing a great job, by the way.

So now, I say we have to heal our wounds and the wounds of our country. I love the people of our country, the people, all of the people. It says I love all of the people of our country.

I didn't say I love you because you're black, or I love you because you're white, or I love you because you're from Japan, or you're from China, or you're from Kenya, or you're from Scotland or Sweden. I love all the people of our country.

(APPLAUSE)

So, I said here's my -- this is -- by the way folks, this is my exact words: "I love all the people of our country. We're going to make America great again, but we're going to make it great for all of the people of the United States of America."

(APPLAUSE)

And then they say, is he a racist? Is he a racist? Then, I did a second one. So then I did a second one.

Don't bother, it's only a single voice. And not a very powerful voice.

How did he get in here? He's supposed to be with the few people outside.

How about -- how about all week they're talking about the massive crowds that are going to be outside. Where are they? Well, it's hot out. It is hot. I think it's too warm.

You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they've got clubs and they've got everything -- Antifa!

So on August the 14th -- so that was it, and I said all people, I love all people, everything, right? Now I figure I'm going to do it again. I'll be even more specific.

So I said, based on the events that took place over the last weekend in Charlottesville, I'd like to provide the nation with an update. Because that was right after the event, the first one, right?

An update on ongoing federal response to the horrific attack and violence that was witnessed by everybody. To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend's racist violence, you will be held fully accountable, justice will be delivered. That's what I said.

(APPLAUSE)

Listen to that, I said that, but they don't show that. They don't show it. They take -- they'll take one thing, like, seriously, he was late was the best thing. He was late.

So I said, to anyone who acted criminally in this weekends racists violence. OK, then I go, we must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans, right?

Then I said, racism is evil. Do they report that I said that racism is evil?

TRUMP: You know why? Because they are very dishonest people. So I said, racism is evil. Now they only choose, you know, like a half a sentence here or there and then they just go on this long rampage, or they put on these real lightweights all around a table that nobody ever heard of, and they all say what a bad guy I am.

But, I mean do you ever see anything -- and then you wonder why CNN is doing relatively poorly in the ratings. Because they're putting like seven people all negative on Trump. And they fired Jeffrey Lord, poor Jeffrey. Jeffrey Lord.

I guess he was getting a little fed up, and he was probably fighting back a little bit too hard. They said, we've better get out of here; we can't have that.

And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold true as Americans.

Now let me ask you, can it be any better than that, in all fairness?

And you know I mention that, but to the best of my knowledge when there was a big problem, Barack Obama never said it took place because of radical Islamic terrorists, he never said that, right. He doesn't have to say...

(BOOING)

You know why? Because they have a double standard. Because the media is totally dishonest, and they have a double standard. You never heard them say that. And in fact, if you use the term you'd get criticized. But with me, they wanted me to say it, and I said it. And I said it very clearly, but they refused to put it on.

"Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike the very core of America." These are my words. This was on Monday, August 14th. So you had Saturday; you had Monday. You know, I was going to do one of these every week, but you would never get it right.

"In times such as these, America has always shown its true character. Responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice." And then I finished, I said, "We will defend or protect the sacred rights of all Americans." All is capitalized times five. Not just you. "And we will work together so that every citizen -- every citizen is free to follow their dreams and their hearts and to express the love and joy in their souls."

(APPLAUSE)

OK now, I mean -- so they were having a hard time with that one, because I said everything. I hit him with neo-Nazi. I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazi. I got them all in there, let's say. KKK, we have KKK. I got them all. So they're having a hard time.

So what are they say, right? It should have been sooner. He's a racist. It should have been sooner, OK. So it should have been -- so then the last one, on Tuesday -- Tuesday I did another one: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America."

(APPLAUSE)

But they also said that he must be a racist because he never mentioned the driver of the car, who is a terrible person, drove the car and he killed Heather, and it's a terrible thing. But they said I didn't mention, so these are my words. "The driver of the car is a murderer, and what he did was a horrible, inexcusable thing." They said I didn't mention it.

And then they asked me, just to finish it, they asked me, what about race relations in the United States? Now I have to say they were pretty bad under Barack Obama, that I can tell you.

But, they asked me the question. And I said, well, I think jobs can have a very big and positive impact. I think if we continue to create jobs like I've done -- over one million since I've been in office...

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Way over one million. I think if we continue to create jobs at levels that I'm creating jobs, I think that's going to have a tremendously positive impact on race relations. I do. I do.

And the other thing -- very important -- I believe wages will start going up, because we now have the lowest unemployment rate we've had in 17 years, so you're going to see wages go up, right?

(APPLAUSE)

They haven't gone up for a long time. I believe wages now, because the economy is doing so well with respect to employment and unemployment, I believe wages will start to go up, and I think that will have a tremendously positive impact on race relations.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So that was my words.

Now, you know, I was a good student. I always hear about the elite. You know, the elite. They're elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I think -- you know what? I think we're the elites. They're not the elites.

(APPLAUSE)

So the point is -- and I didn't want to bore you, because you understand where I'm coming from. You people understand. But the point is, that those were three different -- there were two statements and one news conference. The words were perfect. They only take out anything they can think of, and for the most part, all they do is complain. But they don't put on those words. And they don't put on me saying those words.

The media can attack me. But where I draw the line is when they attack you, which is what they do. When they attack the decency of our supporters.

(APPLAUSE)

You are honest, hard-working, taxpaying -- and by the way, you're overtaxed, but we're going to get your taxes down.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: You're taxpaying Americans who love our nation, obey our laws, and care for our people. It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions, and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions.

(APPLAUSE)

And yes, by the way -- and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: And -- and I say it, and you know, we're all pros. We're all, like, we have a certain sense. We're smart people. These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them. Not all of them. You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, and they're bad people. And I really think they don't like our country. I really believe that. And I don't believe they're going to change, and that's why I do this. If they would change, I would never say it.

The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself, and the fake news.

(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Oh, that's so funny. Look back there, the live red lights. They're turning those suckers off fast out there. They're turning those lights off fast. Like CNN. CNN does not want its falling viewership to watch what I'm saying tonight, I can tell you.

I mean, the advantage I have -- the advantage I have is that we do have a big voice. And you know, they're always saying, like Twitter or social media -- if I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be able to get the word out. I probably wouldn't be standing here, right? I probably wouldn't be standing here right now.

(APPLAUSE)

If I don't have social media, I probably would not be standing.

And do you ever notice, when I go on and I'll put, like, out a tweet or a couple of tweets, "He's in a Twitter-storm again!" I -- I don't do Twitter-storms. You know, you'll put out a little tweet: "I'm going to be with the veterans today." They'll say, "Donald Trump is in a Twitter-storm." These are sick people.

You know the thing I don't understand? You would think -- you would think they'd want to make our country great again, and I honestly believe they don't. I honestly believe it.

If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media...

(APPLAUSE)

... which would rather get ratings and clicks than tell the truth.

I mean, the New York Times has written some stories. How about this? The New York Times essentially apologized after I won the election, because their coverage was so bad, and it was so wrong, and they were losing so many subscribers that they practically apologized. I would say they did. They say, well, it wasn't really that much of an apology. Because they were losing so many people, because they were misled. And I figured, this is great. And for about two weeks I got good coverage. Then they reverted back into worse than ever before. You know, it's like one of those things.

The Washington Post is terrible. But these are dishonest -- but let me tell you, you have some great, honest papers. You have some great networks. I must tell you, Fox has treated me fairly. Fox treated me fairly.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: They've treated me fairly. Hey, I'll let you know. You know what? Some day they might not treat me fairly, and I'll tell you about it, OK? But they've treated me fairly, and I don't mean all good. I get plenty of bad on Fox, too. But at least it's within reason.

And Hannity? How good is Hannity (inaudible)? How good is Hannity?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And he's a great guy, and he's an honest guy. And "Fox and Friends in the Morning" is the best show, and it's the absolute, most honest show, and it's the show I watch.

Not only does -- oh boy, those cameras are going off. Oh, wow. Why don't you just fold them up and take them home? Oh, those cameras are going off. Wow. That's the one thing, they're very nervous to have me on live television, because this can (ph) happen.

Now, you know what? I'm a person that wants to tell the truth. I'm an honest person, and what I'm saying, you know is exactly right.

Not only does the media give a platform to hate groups, but the media turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets, the failures of our public school, the destruction of our wealth at the hands of the terrible, terrible trade deals made by politicians that should've never been allowed to be politicians.

(APPLAUSE)

And the unaccountable hostility against our incredible police, who work so hard at such a dangerous job.

(APPLAUSE)

My administration is committed to the idea that all Americans have the right to live in safety, security and peace. We believe in the rule of law, because we know that freedom cannot exist if our people are not safe.

And how safe are you at a Trump rally?

(APPLAUSE)

Remember at the beginning, remember when this already started? When this started at the beginning, they used to send in thugs. They had -- our people are tougher than them, so it wasn't always very good for them. But they'd send in thugs, and our people would protect themselves, and then you'd go home and you'd watch this violence.

Let me tell you, see this room? You've got people outside, but not very many. But see this room? You're safe in this room. You're very safe in this room.

(APPLAUSE)

It's a big room.

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