On Friday and again on Sunday, President Trump attacked the media for the way the contentious G7 summit in Canada was covered.
“I have a great relationship with Angela Merkel of Germany, but the Fake News Media only shows the bad photos (implying anger) of negotiating an agreement – where I am asking for things that no other American President would ask for!” Trump tweeted, along with a string of images from G7 photo ops where Trump appears to be getting along with other heads of state.
I have a great relationship with Angela Merkel of Germany, but the Fake News Media only shows the bad photos (implying anger) of negotiating an agreement – where I am asking for things that no other American President would ask for! pic.twitter.com/Ib97nN5HZt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018
Then, on Sunday morning, Trump reposted his tweet from Friday, and added, “Please clear up the Fake News!”
Please clear up the Fake News! https://t.co/3VbIKbmKwP
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 17, 2018
There’s just one problem. The photo Trump is upset about — a viral picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaning over a table and looking at Trump with exasperation during G7 talks, while Trump sits defiantly with his arms crossed — was actually posted on Instagram by Merkel herself.
Not only that, but the stories about Trump’s disconnect with Merkel and with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were the product of comments made publicly by each of the heads of state, not anonymously-sourced articles.
Merkel told a German TV station that Trump’s performance at the G7 was “sobering and a bit depressing,” adding that “the situation isn’t very nice” and “sometimes I get the impression that the U.S. president believes that only one side wins and the other loses” — an approach she contrasted with her belief in “win-win” situations.
Trudeau, meanwhile, said his nation was insulted by steel tariffs the Trump administration hit Canada with for “national security” reasons.
“Canadians… stood shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in far off lands in conflicts from the First World War onward,” Trudeau said at a press conference. “It’s kind of insulting.”
“Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around,” Trudeau added, in comments that prompted Trump to lash out at the prime minister on Twitter, while White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said “there is a special place in hell” for Trudeau. (Navarro later apologized.)
So while Trump may want his supporters to believe the media is playing up stories about his rift with G7 democracies that have historically been among America’s strongest allies, the fact is that the dispute has played out in public.
Trump — as he is in the habit of doing — is trying to gaslight the American public about that reality.