On Monday night, President Donald Trump invited TIME reporter Zeke Miller, editor Nancy Gibbs and D.C. bureau chief Michael Scherer to an on the record dinner in which he discussed everything from the redecorating he had done in the White House to his foreign policy to healthcare.
Of course, the discussion did turn at one point toward the media coverage of Trump, and it was clear that the president wasn’t happy with much of it.
“For instance I don’t watch CNN. I don’t watch MSNBC. Scarborough used to treat me great. But because I don’t do interviews and stuff and want to … He went the other way. Which is fine. He’s got some problems. But I don’t watch the show anymore. It drives him crazy. I don’t watch the show,” he said.
He did, however, have high praise for Fox: “I do watch Fox in the morning, and their ratings have gone through the roof because everyone knows I’m watching Fox. But they’re pleasant. And if I do something wrong they report on it. I don’t mean they – if I do something wrong. But it’s really, honestly it’s the most accurate.”
But as for CNN, he had nothing but contempt, especially for the likes of Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon: “CNN in the morning, Chris Cuomo, he’s sitting there like a chained lunatic. He’s like a boiler ready to explode, the level of hatred. And the entire, you know the entire CNN platform is that way. This Don Lemon who’s perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting, Don Lemon at night it’s like – sometimes they’ll have a guest who by mistake will say something good. And they’ll start screaming, we’re going to commercial. They cut him off. Remember?”
He then continued, “I’ve seen things where by mistake somebody they bring in a guest and it turns out to be a positive. And they go, I mean they get just killed. The level of hatred. And poor Jeffrey Lord. I love Jeffrey Lord. But sometimes he’s sitting there with eight unknown killers that nobody ever heard of. And CNN actually is not doing nearly as well as others. They’re all doing well because of me. But it’s not doing as well as others that are doing better actually. But Fox treats me very fairly. MSNBC is ridiculous. It’s just bad.”
Trump also addressed Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, after the comedian recently came under fire for making an oral sex joke about Trump and Vladimir Putin.
“You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him,” Trump said. “The guy was dying. By the way they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show. … But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high—highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.”
CNN has since responded to Trump’s statements: “His comments are beneath the dignity of the office of the President.”