Trump turns Lauer firing into occasion to blast ‘Fake News’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump turned the firing of NBC’s Matt Lauer into a fresh opportunity to attack the press Wednesday, unleashing a series of cryptic and personal tweets aimed at prominent media figures.

As many Americans were eating breakfast, the president swiftly responded to the abrupt dismissal of the longtime “Today” show host by condemning NBC News and its Philadelphia-based parent company, Comcast Corp. Trump said on Twitter: “Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.’ But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News.”

Trump then referenced the NBC News chairman, adding: “Check out Andy Lack’s past!” It was not immediately clear what that comment referred to. In another tweet, the president used Lauer’s firing to lash out at “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and MSNBC President Phil Griffin.

NBC declined to comment on Trump’s tweets. It announced Wednesday that it had terminated Lauer after receiving a “detailed complaint” from a colleague about sexual misconduct.

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Trump’s comment on “Fake News” was a reiteration of his long-standing complaints about mainstream news outlets that he contends have covered his presidency unfairly and inaccurately. Trump, who often deems stories that he doesn’t like to be fake news, has maintained an ongoing battle with the media.

His latest tweets follow a spate of posts in recent days denigrating the press, including one in which he suggested a contest to determine “the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted” news organization. He added: “Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”

As a presidential candidate, Trump often criticized individual reporters by name at his massive, free-wheeling rallies. Wednesday’s tweets carried a sharply personal tone against a network that made Trump one of its biggest stars on “The Apprentice.”

Speaking of Griffin, Trump tweeted that in light of Lauer’s departure, “when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin?”

Turning to Scarborough, Trump wrote: “And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!”

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