By Harriet Alexander
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump has declared himself so unimpressed by media coverage of his administration that he has launched his own “news service,” with broadcasts proclaiming his triumphs presented by one Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law.
At the end of a week which saw the chief of staff fired, a vulgar tirade by his communications director, who was then forced out, the collapse of efforts to repeal ObamaCare and yet another deeply concerning missile launch by North Korea, the president set about changing the narrative.
“Want to know what President Trump did this week? Watch here for REAL news!” his Facebook page proclaimed.
In the video, published on Sunday evening and now watched by two million people, Lana Trump, who is married to Donald Trump’s son Eric, lists the president’s achievements.
It appears the Trump news channel is produced by his re-election campaign, with Lara Trump speaking against the backdrop of his campaign website – DonaldJTrump.com.
“I bet you haven’t heard about all the accomplishments the president had this week because there is so much fake news out there,” she said.
She told viewers how Donald Trump has once again donated his salary for this quarter, noting admiringly: “This is a president who is putting America before himself.”
She claimed, almost accurately, that the unemployment rate – 4.4 per cent in June, 4.3 per cent in May – is the lowest since 2001. For four months in 2005 and 2006, the unemployment rate was also 4.4 per cent.
Lana Trump, a television producer before she married, correctly stated that the Dow Jones stock market was at an all-time high, and told how Donald Trump had welcomed to the White House the police officers who had saved the lives of the politicians practicing baseball on June 14.
She failed to mention the “news” that the president himself was tweeting about last week – their failed effort to reform healthcare; the Russia investigation; China’s policy towards North Korea, which Donald Trump said left him “very disappointed,” adding: “they do NOTHING”.
She also ignored the oddest news of the week: in 2015, Donald Trump was apparently in “serious talks” to play the U.S. president in the film Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, a sequel to the cult disaster movie Sharknado. Makers of the film said Trump agreed, but they were then told it was “not the best time” because he was “thinking about making a legitimate run for the presidency”.
She did, however, reference her father-in-law’s Friday visit to Long Island, where he spoke about the MS-13 gang problem. She did not mention that his speech was panned, after he told police not to bother taking steps to ensure the well-being of people they detained. His remarks were condemned by the Drugs Enforcement Agency, NYPD and police forces nationwide.
The video came out a day before John Kelly took over as chief of staff, with the former general drafted in to replace Reince Priebus and enforce order to the chaotic and dysfunctional White House.
The president has noticeably reduced his tweeting, and Kelly has ordered staff in the West Wing to report to him. The political website Axios reported that Donald Trump’s behaviour has changed, with the bombastic president appearing focused in meetings.
But Kelly’s arrival was too late to stop the damaging publication of an article in Sports Illustrated. In the piece, golfers who came across Trump at his Bedminster course in New Jersey recounted how Trump said he liked spending time at his golf courses, noting: “The White House is a real dump.”
The White House has denied that the conversation ever took place, but the damage was done. Paul Begala, a former Clinton adviser, said: “If @realDonaldTrump truly thinks the White House is a ‘dump’, many of us would chip in to pay for the Uhaul to take him back to Trump Tower.”
Yesterday the president was attempting to turn the page, coming out in favour of legislation from two Republican senators that would place new limits on legal immigration and seek to create a system based more on merit and skills than family ties.
Donald Trump said the measure would represent “the most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century.”
The proposal, introduced by David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would change the 1965 law to reduce the number of legal immigrants, limiting the number of people able to obtain green cards to join families already in the United States.
It would also aim to slash the number of refugees in half and eliminate a program that provides visas to countries with low rates of immigration.