Donald Trump

Trump says his White House is ‘running like a fine-tuned machine’, reports of chaos are fake

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 3:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 7:37am

President Donald Trump rejected portrayals of chaos in his administration and claimed “incredible” progress in his first four weeks in office, lashing out at media organisations he said “will not tell you the truth.”

Trump opened a snap news conference on Thursday with a 25-minute tirade in which he pointed to the stock market’s performance as evidence of his early accomplishments and said news organisations work “for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very broken system.”

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The president has faced a slew of reports since the weekend that his administration is reeling over disclosures about Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser Trump dismissed on Monday.

“I’m here today to update the American people on the incredible progress that’s been made the last four weeks since my inauguration,” Trump said. “I see stories of chaos. It’s the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

“There’s zero chaos,” he said later.

He said that a Rasmussen poll found that he had 55 per cent approval - even though Gallup’s most recent tracking poll found he had only 40 per cent support - and said “the stock market has hit record numbers, as you know.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,584 as of 1.24pm in New York; it had not hit 20,000 before this year.

“To be honest I inherited a mess,” Trump said. “It’s a mess. At home and abroad.”

Trump stated a number of falsehoods. He said for the third time in two days that he had won 306 Electoral College votes in his election. The correct number was 304.

He called it “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan”, which was very far from the truth. His predecessor, Barack Obama, won 332 electoral college votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008.

Asked about the discrepancy, Trump said he meant that he had won the most of any Republican candidate since Reagan. Told that former President George H.W. Bush had won more, Trump said, “I was given that information. I have seen that information around.”

He also claimed that “jobs are pouring out of the country.” Unemployment is 4.8 per cent, compared with a peak of 10 per cent during Obama’s first year as president. Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.

Trump denied allegations that members of his election campaign team were in repeated contact with Russian officials, calling it “fake news.”

“They know nothing about it. They weren’t in Russia. They never made a phone call to Russia. They never received a phone call. It’s all fake news,” Trump told a news conference.

Trump also defended Flynn, the national security adviser whose resignation he demanded and received this week, saying Flynn did nothing wrong in holding pre-inauguration talks with the Russian ambassador. “He’s doing the job. He was just doing his job,” Trump said.

Trump said he has asked the Justice Department to investigate intelligence leaks that he said led to the resignation of his national security advisor.

Calling them “criminal leaks,” Trump said they were put out by “people in the agencies.”

“We’re looking at them very serious. I’ve gone to all of the folks in charge of the various agencies, and we’re - I’ve actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks.”

Trump also pushed back against the chaos of a contentious executive order — now tied up in a legal fight — to place a ban on travellers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

The president announced that Alexander Acosta, dean of the Florida International University law school and former US attorney in Florida, would be his nominee for labour secretary. That came a day after fast-food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew after losing support among Republican senators.

If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet.