Trump cov­ers wide range on ‘Fox & Friends’ for 47 min­utes

Lodi News-Sentinel - - NATION - By Noah Bier­man

WASH­ING­TON — It seemed likely to be one of those brief tele­vi­sion mo­ments when the pres­i­dent calls in to boast about the re­sponse to a mas­sive hur­ri­cane. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has been get­ting less air time for his prime-time ral­lies on Fox News lately, had other ideas.

The pres­i­dent held court on “Fox & Friends,” his fa­vorite show, for 47 min­utes Thurs­day about a range of top­ics, in­clud­ing crit­i­cism that he’d gone ahead with a rally in Penn­syl­va­nia the night be­fore as Hur­ri­cane Michael dev­as­tated the South­east. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple in its path were with­out power, and prob­a­bly un­able to watch Trump’s com­ments.

Af­ter promis­ing that the hur­ri­cane re­cov­ery would “go fast,” Trump talked about Saudi Ara­bia, the midterm elec­tions, Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren’s un­doc­u­mented claims of Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage, Kanye West’s visit to the White House on Thurs­day, prison re­form, the Fed­eral Re­serve, new Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh and more, be­fore fi­nally let­ting go.

“Go run the coun­try,” host Steve Doocy said.

It was Trump’s sec­ond in­ter­view with Fox in less than a day. He also spoke with the net­work be­fore Wed­nes­day night’s rally in Erie, Pa. The Thurs­day morn­ing ses­sion com­peted with a highly pro­moted in­ter­view with for­mer First Lady Michelle Obama on NBC’s “To­day” show.

Trump even found time to heap some over-the-top praise on con­gres­sional al­lies who are work­ing to pro­tect him from the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “If this turns out as ev­ery­one thinks it will, Devin Nunes should get the Medal of Honor,” Trump said of the Re­pub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Tu­lare, who has been among his fore­most con­gres­sional fighters against the probe headed by spe­cial coun­sel Robert S. Mueller III.

The Medal of Honor is the na­tion’s high­est mil­i­tary recog­ni­tion, re­served for valor in com­bat rather than po­lit­i­cal fealty.

The morn­ing af­ter a steep slide in the stock mar­kets, Trump again crit­i­cized the Fed­eral Re­serve, blam­ing ris­ing in­ter­est rates and thereby con­tin­u­ing to break with pres­i­dents’ long­stand­ing prac­tice of re­spect­ing the in­de­pen­dence of the cen­tral bank.

Trump is sched­uled to have lunch with West and Jim Brown, the leg­endary NFL run­ning back, at the White House. Trump used the sched­uled visit to tout what he calls tremen­dous sup­port among African Amer­i­cans, though in fact his ap­proval rat­ing among black Amer­i­cans has stayed well be­low 20 per­cent in most polls.

The men plan to dis­cuss prison re­form, ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent. Trump, yet again un­der­cut­ting At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, said that if Ses­sions tries to stand in his way, “he gets over­ruled by me, be­cause I make the de­ci­sion, he doesn’t.”

Asked if he’d fire Ses­sions and Rod J. Rosen­stein, the deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral over­see­ing the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, im­me­di­ately af­ter the midterms, Trump replied, “Well, I ac­tu­ally get along well with Rod.”

The in­ter­view came amid Trump’s cam­paign blitz ahead of next month’s con­gres­sional elec­tions. The pres­i­dent has been hold­ing ral­lies at the rate of four times a week around the coun­try. Trump said he be­lieved “the spirit that the Repub­li­cans have” would bring suc­cess, but he al­lowed that Democrats could take the House ma­jor­ity.

Though Trump has at other times called the elec­tion a ref­er­en­dum on his pres­i­dency, he told the Fox trio oth­er­wise: “It’s not about me right now, it’s about in­di­vid­ual races.”

He pre­dicted par­ti­san dis­cord if Democrats win con­trol, say­ing the sides would have to “fight it out,” and noted that some Democrats have al­ready threat­ened to im­peach Ka­vanaugh, just days af­ter he was sworn in.

The one glim­mer of op­por­tu­nity for bi­par­ti­san ac­tion he noted was in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, an is­sue that both sides have long talked about though con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans re­main mostly un­en­thu­si­as­tic. Trump made sim­i­lar com­ments af­ter his elec­tion yet has not made sus­tained ef­forts to court Democrats on the is­sue since then. Now, ha­tred for the pres­i­dent among lib­er­als has made many Demo­cratic law­mak­ers re­luc­tant to work with him.

“Can we get along? Maybe,” Trump said. “There’s some­thing that can bring us to­gether.”

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