USA: Mr Trump Throws Tomatoes at Some of TV’s Stars

President Trump is perhaps the world’s most powerful television addict. And like any TV fan, he has strong opinions about what he watches.

In a series of caustic criticisms this week, Mr. Trump laced into on-air stars like the CNN news anchor Don Lemon and Stephen Colbert, host of “The Late Show” on CBS. He insisted that he had tuned out networks like CNN and MSNBC, but he proceeded to comment in detail about those networks’ coverage of his administration.

Speaking at the White House with reporters from Time magazine, Mr. Trump derided Mr. Lemon as “perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting” and called Chris Cuomo, the CNN morning anchor, “a chained lunatic.”

“He’s like a boiler ready to explode,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Cuomo. “The level of hatred. And the entire, you know, the entire CNN platform is that way.”

The president went on to lament the plight of Jeffrey Lord, his stalwart on-air defender on CNN, saying: “Poor Jeffrey Lord. I love Jeffrey Lord. But sometimes he’s sitting there with eight unknown killers that nobody ever heard of.”

CNN’s public-relations team issued a blunt riposte to Mr. Trump on Thursday: “His comments are beneath the dignity of the office of the President.”

Mr. Trump told Time that he had installed a new 60-inch television in his dining room, and he showed off his prowess with the unit’s DVR, on which he compiles cable news clips. The president often reacts on Twitter in real time to cable-news segments that he deems critical or ungenerous.

Once a frequent guest on the airwaves, Mr. Trump now appears most regularly on Fox News, speaking with opinionated hosts like Jeanine Pirro, who will run an interview with him on Saturday, and Sean Hannity. He has also granted interviews to the major broadcast networks, including a session with NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday in which the president said he had long planned to fire James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., who was dismissed on Tuesday.

The president said he enjoyed watching Fox News in the mornings, “and their ratings have gone through the roof because everyone knows I’m watching Fox.” He called MSNBC’s coverage of him “ridiculous.”

His toughest remarks, however, were reserved for Mr. Colbert, whose recent off-color joke about Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia prompted some online protests among conservatives. “There’s nothing funny about what he says,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Colbert. “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.”

The president also took credit for Mr. Colbert’s recent ratings rise. “The guy was dying,” Mr. Trump said. “They were going to take him off television; then he started attacking me, and he started doing better.

“But his show was dying.”

Inexperienced in government, Mr. Trump appears to feel more at ease in the realm of popular culture, and even amid one of the most frenetic crises of his young administration, he is unafraid to go to that comfort zone.

In a head-turning Twitter post on Thursday afternoon — as his administration was being castigated for its handling of the Comey firing — Mr. Trump linked to a Twitter post by Rosie O’Donnell from last year in which the actress, a longtime nemesis of Mr. Trump’s, called for Mr. Comey to be dismissed.

The president went in for the kill. “We finally agree on something Rosie,” Mr. Trump wrote. Within two hours, the note had been reposted roughly 18,000 times.

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