President Donald Trump appeared to contradict himself while talking about CNN during a Friday interview with the Associated Press.
The president, who has called CNN “fake news” multiple times and accused the network of unfair coverage, told AP reporter Julie Pace that he no longer watched the channel.
Pace responded: “You just said you did,” referring to an off-the-record exchange that was not included in a transcript of the interview released Monday.
“No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say?” Trump replied.
Pace then said Trump had just said he watched CNN a few minutes earlier.
Trump responded: “No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it.”
Regardless of whether Trump still watches CNN, he consistently lampooned the network during his campaign and after taking office.
Just heard Fake News CNN is doing polls again despite the fact that their election polls were a WAY OFF disaster. Much higher ratings at Fox
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
While on FAKE NEWS @CNN, Bernie Sanders was cut off for using the term fake news to describe the network. They said technical difficulties!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
At 9:00 P.M. @CNN, of all places, is doing a Special Report on my daughter, Ivanka. Considering it is CNN, can’t imagine it will be great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017
.@CNN is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
Contrary to Trump’s claims that CNN is tanking, its ratings have soared since last year, up 51% among 25- to 54-year-olds as of February. 2016 was CNN’s most profitable year, according to Forbes, and the network seems set to perform even better in 2017.
Here’s the part of the transcript where Trump talked about CNN:
AP: Do you feel that one of the things with cable is there’s such real-time reaction with everything you say?
AP: Can you separate that sometimes from that actual decision?
TRUMP: The one thing –
AP: That you have to do –
TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore.
AP: You just said you did.
TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)?
AP: You just said –
TRUMP: Where? Where?
AP: Two minutes ago.
TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it. Now I heard yesterday that MSNBC, you know, they tell me what’s going on.
TRUMP: In fact, they also did. I never thought I had the ability to not watch. Like, people think I watch (MSNBC’s) “Morning Joe.” I don’t watch “Morning Joe.” I never thought I had the ability to, and who used to treat me great by the way, when I played the game. I never thought I had the ability to not watch what is unpleasant, if it’s about me. Or pleasant. But when I see it’s such false reporting and such bad reporting and false reporting that I’ve developed an ability that I never thought I had. I don’t watch things that are unpleasant. I just don’t watch them.
AP: And do you feel like that’s, that’s because of the office that you now occupy –
AP: That you’ve made that change?
TRUMP: I don’t know why it is, but I’ve developed that ability, and it’s happened over the last, over the last year.
AP: That’s interesting.
TRUMP: And I don’t watch things that I know are going to be unpleasant. CNN has covered me unfairly and incorrectly and I don’t watch them anymore. A lot of people don’t watch them anymore, they’re now in third place. But I’ve created something where people are watching … but I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC anymore. I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability. I always thought I’d watch.