WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on the intelligence community Thursday, promising to catch the “low-life leakers” who have supplied the “fake news media” with information on his administration’s ties to Russia, information that he dismissed as a political excuse for Democratic losses.
In a Twitter rant that extended into work hours, Trump at once dismissed the entire Russia story as “fake” and made up, and pledged to hunt down the officials in the government who have supplied the details. He demanded an apology from the “failing” New York Times and accused the media of making up stories and sources, even as he said he wanted those sources apprehended.
“Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!”
“The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!”
“FAKE NEWS media, which makes up stories and “sources,” is far more effective than the discredited Democrats — but they are fading fast!”
“The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story — RUSSIA. Fake news!”
The posts, which started around 7 a.m. and stretched past 9 a.m., appear calculated to antagonize intelligence agencies and keep supporters trained on the media. The president is planning a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday.
Republican leaders may be growing weary. In an interview with the conservative Weekly Standard, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said Trump’s approval ratings — abysmal for a new president at around 40 percent — would be “10 to 15 points higher if he allowed himself to stay on message.”
McConnell singled out the president’s Twitter comments.
“What he’s saying makes everything harder,” the majority leader said.