Trump: AT&T-Time Warner merger 'not good for the country'

Trump: AT&T-Time Warner merger 'not good for the country'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE said that AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner is "not good for the country," one day after the Department of Justice announced it was suing to block the $85 billion deal.

"Personally, I’ve always felt that that was a deal that’s not good for the country,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.

The president's comments came a day after the Justice Department sued AT&T to block the merger, arguing it would create a media behemoth and ultimately hurt U.S. consumers.

“AT&T/DirecTV would hinder its rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for Time Warner’s networks, and it would use its increased power to slow the industry’s transition to new and exciting video distribution models that provide greater choice for consumers,” the department’s filing reads.

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The Justice Department allegedly demanded earlier this month that AT&T sell off CNN's parent company from Time Warner as a condition for regulatory approval of the sale.

But that condition immediately prompted questions about whether it was politically motivated, given Trump's frequent criticism of CNN. 

AT&T has forcefully denied that it offered to sell off CNN or that it would in the future.

As a presidential candidate last year, Trump similarly said the AT&T–Time Warner deal would be blocked. 

David McAtee, AT&T’s general counsel, said in a statement on Monday that the company intended to fight the Justice Department's lawsuit in court, arguing that it diverged from longtime antitrust precedent.

"Vertical mergers like this one are routinely approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market. We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently,” McAtee said.