Trump embarrassed America in front of the world — again — instructing Baltic leaders not to call on American reporters and accusing them of being 'fake news.'
Trump used an appearance with world leaders as yet another opportunity to push his "fake news" propaganda and conspiracy, and told them not to call on American journalists.
Instead, he derided U.S. reporters for creating what he termed as "fake news."
Standing next to leaders of the Baltic states, Trump told Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis to call on a reporter.
"Pick a reporter, please. You can pick a reporter — a Baltic reporter, ideally. Real news, not fake news," he said.
The moment, as the international press was assembled for a serious exchange broadcast around the world, was another sign of Trump's true anti-speech inclination.
After the press conference, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby blasted the outburst on CNN.
"It really is very disappointing," he said. "These are vibrant democracies, these three countries. And they are living at the doorstep of Russia. So the concerns that they brought with them to Washington are real. And i think it is disconcerting, and frankly disappointing, that our commander in chief would insult the media there in front of them like that."
"Fake news" has been Trump's go-to phrase in his attacks on the press. He has promoted the untrue idea that mainstream news outlets have invented stories about him and his failing administration and refused to report on his supposed successes.
In reality, the "fake news" claims have been Trump's limp attempt to squelch journalism exposing his presidency.
Reporters have revealed the chaos and dysfunction that infect the White House and multiple Cabinet secretaries, how unprepared Trump and his team have been to govern America or lead the world, and his own instability in the office.
That is why he dismisses it all as "fake news" and has even publicly considered using the government to punish outlets that don't kiss up to him like Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting.
American journalism isn't perfect, and Trump's own success — despite a history of lies, bigotry, and incompetence — proves that.
But it is far outside the norm of acceptable presidential behavior for the American president to attack the press the way he so often does, and the way he did again Tuesday.
Like Trump's other actions and words, the broadside against the free press has more in common with dictators and autocrats. Historically such behavior was condemned and vilified from within the White House.
Under Trump, the moral authority has been thrown into the trash as he screeches "fake news."