When asked by a supporter on Sunday about his divisive language and evasive behaviour towards the press, US President Donald Trump dodged the question. Instead, he complained he’s been treated worse by the media than Abraham Lincoln.
The president made the claim during the Fox News virtual town hall, which was shot in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. Carolyn Perkins, an elementary school guidance counsellor, said she and her husband thanked Trump for his work and prayed for him daily, but she questioned his combative tone at press briefings.
She asked why he uses “descriptive words that could be classified as bullying,” avoids giving direct answers to questions from the media, and opts instead to “speak of past successes and generally ramble.” She called on him to let go of these negative attributes and embrace the positives.
The president’s press briefings are characterised by frequent clashes with reporters that asked unfavourable questions about his administration’s handling of the pandemic, and often stretch on for well beyond an hour. The White House reportedly moved to scale back these briefings following concerns from advisers that they were hurting him at the polls.
The president said he appreciated the question, but did not provide a direct response to the points noted. He complained instead about the “hostile press,” which he claimed treated him worse than any other president.
“The closest would be that gentleman right up there,” Trump said, gesturing at the memorial of Lincoln, who was assassinated in 1865. “They always said Lincoln, nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.”
Trump faced harsh criticism on Twitter for his response to the question.