WASHINGTON ― Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, blamed the “disgusting” media for the candidate’s tanking poll numbers and recent controversies in a series of tweets and an interview Sunday morning.
“If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%,” Trump tweeted.
A new poll released Saturday shows Clinton leading Trump by a comfortable margin in four key battleground states following the GOP presidential nominee’s recent string of gaffes on the campaign trail. Trump shocked even some of his own supporters last week when he suggested that gun rights advocates could take matters into their own hands if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton becomes president and tries to appoint Supreme Court justices who support gun control.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said at a campaign rally. “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The comment caught the attention of the Secret Service, which reportedly had to have “more than one” conversation with the Trump campaign about it. But Trump insists that he was only urging gun rights supporters to organize their votes against Clinton, and Manafort told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that it was the media’s fault that Trump’s comment was interpreted as a threat.
“Most people did not interpret it that way,” Manafort said. “It was not at all meant to be a threat. But the point again is you could have covered what he was saying, or you could try and take an aside and take the Clinton narrative and play it out. You chose to do that instead.”
Manafort told Tapper that there was “plenty of news to cover this week” besides Trump’s comment, but the media “played it out for two days. I mean, that’s what we’re talking about.”
The “Second Amendment” comment was just one of Trump’s many controversial remarks to plague his campaign. He insulted Ghazala Khan, a Muslim American woman who lost her son in the Iraq War, and at a speech Wednesday night in Florida, he said President Barack Obama and Clinton are the “co-founders” of ISIS ― a comment he later dismissed as “sarcasm.”
The Republican National Committee is reportedly so frustrated with the embattled candidate that it’s considering cutting off support for his campaign. But Trump continues to point a finger at the media for his troubles.
“My rallies are not covered properly by the media,” he tweeted Sunday. “They never discuss the real message and never show crowd size or enthusiasm.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Tapper works for ABC.