Monday morning, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, lambasted media coverage of President Donald Trump’s tweets, saying that most news outlets don’t cover “finer policy points.”
Conway told Fox & Friends hosts that, according to an in-house analysis, of “roughly 163 tweets sent out by President Trump in June, three-quarters of them, at least, had to do with policy, bilateral meetings, legislation.”
Seeming to support her point, co-host Pete Hegseth read three of Trump’s most recent tweets where the president said he was talking to other countries and their heads of state. Hegseth said the president was focusing on “substance” in contrast to the “so-called mainstream media.”
But there’s no denying that Trump is obsessed with tweeting about the media. CNN Host Jake Tapper tweeted on Saturday that Trump has tweeted a lot of criticism at journalists.
More than 10% of tweets fr @realDonaldTrump as president have been attacking journalists. Far fewer discussing troops, opioid crisis, Syria— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 1, 2017
Another analysis of Trump’s twitter by London School of Economic fellow Brian Klaas shows that, in total, Trump has tweeted about just CNN more than 400 times and tweeted about Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski more than the words Afghanistan, poverty, and opioid. The viral tweet — retweeted more than 30,000 times — seems to contradict Conway’s assertion that Trump focuses on policy.
# of times Trump tweeted the following words— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) July 1, 2017
Mika: 21@joenbc: 26
Additionally, a Washington Post analysis concluded that about 93 percent of Trump’s tweets in June were not on-message with the weekly themes from the White House, regardless of whether they addressed policy.
Noticeably absent among the tweets mentioned on Fox News this morning were his admonitions of “fake news” and his war with the media.
At some point the Fake News will be forced to discuss our great jobs numbers, strong economy, success with ISIS, the border & so much else!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
Conway used health care as an example of a policy discussion that the media was supposedly not covering.
I talked to a few over the weekend who called me unilaterally, and said, “Well, we would cover that, Kellyanne, except the president did this, said that.” I think if you have a 24⁄7 cable news outlet or network or print reporter you can probably cover all of the above.
Health care has been noticeably absent from Trump’s tweets, but Conway said that she is “confident” that the president can have a health care bill on his desk by the end of the summer.
Conway concluded by asking the media for “help in conveying [their] message.” Hegseth told her, “don’t hold your breath.”
Read a full transcript of the interview below:
CLAYTON MORRIS: We want to bring in Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump. Happy to see you on Fourth of July weekend.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Good morning! Happy birthday, America.
MORRIS: Well, the president tweeted this and gave the mainstream media exactly what they wanted. They wanted some more substantive tweets from the president, and I didn't see any coverage on any of the networks this morning of this tweet, which is this: He said, “America's men & women in uniform is the story of FREEDOM overcoming oppression, the STRONG protecting the WEAK & GOOD defeating EVIL! USA.” That’s what the president tweeted, and, of course, the mainstream media coverage is about all the other tweets. Are you surprised by that?
CONWAY: No. The media have now moved on from Russia to cover themselves. I doubt that will help their 14 percent approval rating. The American people see they're trying to interfere with the president communicating directly through his very powerful social media network channels. But also, they noticed that they don't cover the substance of the issues.
I mean, look, I know it is a heck of a lot easier to cover 140 characters here or there or what the president may be saying about the media here or there than it is to the learn finer points of how Medicaid is funded in this country and how that would or would not change under the Senate bill. How the child care tax credit might affect your family. They don't cover these finer policy points.
I talked to a few over the weekend who called me unilaterally, and said, “Well, we would cover that, Kellyanne, except the president did this, said that.” I think if you have a 24⁄7 cable news outlet or network or print reporter, you can probably cover all of the above. So, everybody makes choices. We went back did analysis. Roughly 163 tweets sent out by President Trump in June: Three-quarters of them, at least, had to do with policy, bilateral meetings, legislation. Tweets like you showed. We know the market, stock market loves that this man is president. ISIS is on the run. Jobs being produced. You don't hear any of that. Two networks gave zero coverage to passage of "Kate's law."
PETE HEGSETH: Absolutely. You’re exactly right. A lack of substance across the so-called — I don’t even call it that anymore — the so-called mainstream media. But the president’s up this morning tweeting about substance and action. These three tweets coming out just this morning: He said, “Will be speaking with Germany and France this morning.” Second tweet said, “Spoke yesterday with the King of Saudi Arabia about peace in the Middle-East. Interesting things are happening!” And the third tweet is “Will be speaking with Italy this morning.” So, two questions for you, Kellyanne. How does he manage to tweet and do his job? Because, if you listen to the media he just can't possibly do that. And then what is the — these calls that he’s having, what is he hoping to advance with calling these allies?
CONWAY: This is very typical for President Trump to have calls with heads of state. He’s hosted, I think, close to two dozen, if not that, bilateral meetings at the White House in fewer than six months on the job. He, of course, had an amazing foreign trip. I knew it was success, because the media stopped covering the foreign trip minute Air Force One touched down on American soil. So we knew it was a success.
He’s about to have two more foreign trips in quick succession this month. And these calls allow him to connect with world leaders, discuss national security, trade, anything particular to that nation or that region. Most of that is private between the leaders, I assume, well some of it would be, but then here is readout of every single call. And, so, again people make choices whether they want to connect their viewers and their readers with what the president has discussed and, look, the other thing is, we know the statistics they're worth repeating that in a five-week period, 353 minutes on the three networks was committed to Russia, FBI, Comey. Less than a minute to tax reform.
MORRIS: They're back to Russia, because we had Amy Holmes on the show earlier this morning about his trip to the area, to the G20.
CONWAY: She did a great job.
MORRIS: And they’re saying, “What will he talk about with Vladimir Putin? Is it gonna be a bromance? You know, is he going to press him on interference in our election?” That is what they're focused on this morning.
CONWAY: The thing that struck me with exchange with Amy certainly, but also those clips that you showed of the mainstream media wondering out loud if the president is going to talk about Russian interference in the election, which members of the Obama administration under oath said did not change a single vote and that there is no collusion.
So now we're on to the interference. Why hasn’t anybody said, “Will he discuss the fact that Russia, what Russia said or did not say after Assad gassed men, women, and children in Syria?” Where is the outrage about items like that that happened a couple short months ago? You saw how strong and resolute and immediate the president was taking action over there in Syria. But again they're talking about, they're talking about themselves again. This is a problem. This is why America doesn't trust many of them. Not all of them.
ABBY HUNTSMAN: We know they love talking about themselves, Kellyanne. This might be biggest story of the day is health care, is Obamacare, is what we're going to do about all of this. We're hearing more and more the GOP is finally warming up to the repeal and replace of Obamacare. Many of them are hoping to push back to this recess in August. Where do things stand now and how hopeful are you and president this will get done?
CONWAY: Very hopeful, very confident that the president can have the bill on his desk this summer. And frankly, Abby, if you go back and you see why this is being done in the first place. This is something that doesn’t get enough coverage. We have to talk about 20 million people last year that opted out of Obamacare. Six and half million forked money over to the IRS rather than get on the Obamacare exchanges. We have 19 of the 23 co-ops have failed. Eighty-three insurers have pulled out of the markets. And some of those insurers looked at the Senate bill, and said that they had more confidence, less jittery, seeing the kinds of reforms that we would put in place.
This is to help the millions of Americans who were left out and lied to about keeping their doctor, keeping their plan. In terms of the procedure, it could either be repeal and replace at same time, or you could do what happened in the 2015 senate bill, where every Republican senator who was there except for one voted, and they voted to immediately do away with the penalties and taxes under Obamacare. They dealt with Medicaid as well.
People look where their senators are already on the record. One would presume they are going to vote for these principles again, why? Because the only thing that's changed since their vote in 2015 to repeal Obamacare and now is that you have a Republican president willing to sign that into law. And you have the failures of Obamacare. That much more crisp and obvious in front of you.
HUNTSMAN: Does the president think they should stay, do their job, and go home once they have done that?
CONWAY: Well, the president will be working throughout August, no matter where he is. So put him down for wanting people to work hard at all times. I mean we — he outworks all of us as hard as we try. So we know this is a commitment that has been made to the American people and it really can’t wait. It can’t wait indefinitely.
HUNTSMAN: Maybe if he could send up a tweet and send those members of the Senate a tweet to say, “Look do your job, that's what the American people want. And then you can go home and celebrate with your families,” right?
CONWAY: I just want to point out, you’re talking about freedom. Tomorrow, the first lady and the president will host military families for a picnic at the White House. He came all the way back from New Jersey to DC on Saturday night, to keep that commitment. To go and tell the veterans at the Celebrate Freedom rally, “a nation is grateful to you. We're grateful nation for your sacrifices.” And that the men and women in uniform represent the triumph good over evil, of freedom over oppression. And then he reminded everyone that we are a nation that owes ourselves to God, not government and that worships God and not government.
If President Trump ran, if he picked three main reasons, you've got to put military, veterans, first-responders on the list. He has been committed to them since his days as candidate, and he’s made good on those promises, whether it’s the veterans affairs reforms in the first six months. Whether he’s honoring the military in that way.
And he has another message I want to leave everybody with. He talks about how we as a nation spent trillions of dollars elsewhere, helping with these infrastructure projects around the globe, helping other sovereign nations protect their borders. It’s high time we do that here in America. It’s a lot of the reason he won. We would love the media’s help in conveying that message.
HEGSETH: Uh, don't hold your breath, Kellyanne, on that media’s help for sure. Thank you very much for joining us on this July 3rd.
HUNTSMAN: Have a great a great holiday, Kellyanne, with your family. Great to see you!
CONWAY: Thank you.