Fox News anchor Shepard Smith called out Donald Trump on Thursday (16 February) after the first press conference of his presidency.
‘It is crazy what we are watching every day, it is absolutely crazy,’ Smith said following the 80 minute session with reporters in the East Room of The White House. ‘He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we are some kind of fools for asking the question.’
Smith then said: ‘Really? Your opposition was hacked, and the Russians were responsible for it, and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening, and we are fools for asking those questions? No sir, we are not fools for asking those questions, and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people.’
Trump falsely claimed a story by The New York Times on his campaign’s frequent contact with Russian intelligence officials had been ‘discredited.’ He also described as ‘fake news’ and a ‘ruse’ reporting on his campaign’s contact with Russia. Trump would not definitively say no when asked about whether any member of his campaign had communication with Russia.
Trump called the news conference to announce his new labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta. But he quickly slipped into his familiar pattern of bashing specific news outlets and describing their stories as ‘fake news.’
‘Russia is fake news. Russia — this is fake news put out by the media,’ Trump said at one point.
Smith, 53, called out Trump just two weeks ago when his administration said the media had been ignoring terrorist attacks in its coverage.
The president’s assertion is false,’ Smith said then. ‘The White House knows that it was false or could have learned that it was false with a quick Google check, but either did not do so or decided not to tell the truth.’