Dear Mr. President,
I read the transcripts of your Feb. 16 press conference, and I was troubled by some things you said.
And if I may follow up on that, just something that Jonathan Karl was asking you about. You said that the leaks are real, but the news is fake. I guess I don't understand. It seems that there's a disconnect there. If the information coming from those leaks is real, then how can the stories be fake?
You know what it is? Here's the thing. The public isn't -- you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don't know if it's true or false because they're not involved. I'm involved. I've been involved with this stuff all my life. But I'm involved. So I know when you're telling the truth or when you're not.I just see many, many untruthful things.
And I'll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word "tone." The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such -- I do get good ratings, you have to admit that -- the tone is such hatred.
I watched this morning a couple of the networks. And I have to say, Fox & Friends in the morning, they're very honorable people. They're very -- not because they're good, because they hit me also when I do something wrong. But they have the most honest morning show. That's all I can say. It's the most honest.
But the tone, Jim. If you look -- the hatred. The, I mean, sometimes -- sometimes somebody gets..
I’ll be honest. I disagree with most of your policies, but you won the election. I can accept that in our democracy reasonable people can have very different ideas about what is best for the country.
My worry is that you’re telling us you are the one who knows what truth is and isn’t.
I agree with you that the tone of reporting hasn’t been helpful to the public and has at times been downright hateful.
I wish it wasn’t that way because what’s happening in the country is really important, and the more objective reporters can stay, the better off we will all be.
And I agree with you that Hillary Clinton should have reported that she got debate questions from CNN employees. That was wrong, and there’s no excuse for it.
I’m still worried.
See, you haven’t always told the truth, either.
In fact, you didn’t always tell the truth in this press conference.
You said the media has a lower approval rating than Congress, but that isn’t true. It’s not great at 20 percent for newspapers and 21 percent for TV news, but it’s double Congress’ 9 percent trustworthiness rating, according to the Gallup organization.
You said that Alex Acosta is a member of the National Labor Relations Board, but he hasn’t served on it since 2003.Maybe that’s nitpicking, but you’re asking us to trust that you know the difference between real and fake news.
You said you inherited a mess. It’s hard to fact-check this, but by all economic indicators, the economy improved significantly under President Obama. We’ve been adding jobs for seven years.That’s more than at any other time in our history.
Some of the Middle East is a disaster, of course. And North Korea is even more volatile as it was when I lived in South Korea in the 1990s. So pretty much every president in the last many decades has inherited a mess as far as North Korea and the MIddle East are concerned.
I’m also not sure why you think the military needs to be rebuilt and to be so much bigger. According to Global Firepower,the United States spent $581 billion on our military in 2015. That’s more than the next eleven highest-spending countries combined.
To give you an idea, China, who's No. 2 on the list, spent $155.6 billion that year.
Sure, we could improve management and contracts and such, but we’ve already built the biggest, strongest military in the world more than four times over.
You were corrected during the press conference by a reporter about your electoral college victory, and you said, “I was given that information. I don’t know.”
Certainly Americans need to be careful about the news we consume. We need to fact-check for ourselves in these times when anyone with a computer can spread what is truly fake news.
Mr. President, I can’t trust you to tell me the truth. I think you believe what you’re saying, but you’re not always right, and neither are the people who speak for you.
It’s dangerous for citizens to trust politicians blindly. That’s why we have a free press. They’re not perfect, but they are our best line of defense against dictatorship. You swore to uphold the Constitution, and I want to believe you meant it. So please respect the First Amendment and the free press.
I also wanted to address your comments about tone. You’re absolutely right. This country is bitter and bitterly divided. That cuts both ways. I’ve heard liberals say really demeaning things about conservatives, and I’ve heard conservatives do likewise about liberals.
You say you’re not a bad guy. Please, please show it. We need your example.
Because while you may be a nice person who is disturbed by the tone of the country and the media, you spent your entire campaign trying to convince us otherwise.
I don’t mean to be a jerk here. I’m guessing this was a show. It certainly got you attention and probably pushed you to the forefront.
You’ve said that many of these cases were taken out of context. I’ll take you at your word about that. Still, you can’t deny their tone.
Mr. President, we need you to do better. We need you to speak the truth, to let the press do its job even when it’s uncomfortable. And we need you to set the tone.