President Donald Trump conceded on Saturday that he “gets along” better with the world’s autocrats and dictators than with U.S. reporters.
The president made the confession in a testy confrontation with CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, who challenged him at a press conference at the end of the G-20 summit in Japan. The journalist asked: “What is it with your coziness with some of the dictators and autocrats at these summits?”
Trump responded to the room of reporters: “I get along with everybody, except you people ... I get along with (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin, I get along with Mohammed (bin Salman) from Saudi Arabia.”
Trump and Putin on Thursday joked around about the Kremlin’s interference in U.S. presidential elections. They also talked about “fake news” and journalists. “Get rid of them,” quipped Trump, referring to reporters. Twenty-six journalists have been murdered in Russia since Putin has been in power.
Acosta also asked Trump if he failed to confront bin Salman over Khashoggi because he was “afraid of offending him.”
Trump answered: “I don’t really care about offending people. I sort of thought you’d know that.”
Referring to Khashoggi’s murder, Trump said he is “very unhappy about that whole event.” But he insisted that “no one has pointed a finger directly at the future king of Saudi Arabia” ― though the CIA has. He also said it’s important to remember that the country will spend $400 billion on “different things” in America.
Trump said earlier that he raised Khashoggi’s murder with the prince in a private meeting.