President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE on Thursday evening railed against the news media as he spoke at a rally in support of Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (D-Ind.) in November.
Trump attacked CNN and NBC during the rally in Evansville, Ind., calling NBC "worse than CNN." He also went after a New York Times reporter over coverage of his past crowd size, saying the reporter "doesn't have a clue."
"These are just dishonest, terrible people," he said.
Trump said the Times reporter “pretends she knows what she’s talking about.” He didn’t specify which reporter he was referring to, but he referenced a story in the Times last week co-bylined by Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers.
The pair reported in the story that Trump was disappointed during a rally in West Virginia last week and that he told someone close to him that the “crowd seemed flat and that some chairs were empty.”
“She made the statement that President Trump was disappointed to see some empty chairs,” he said. “Yeah, they were going to the bathroom maybe.”
“And he was so disappointed at the tone in the room,” he continued. “We left there saying that was amazing.”
Trump referred to the newspaper, as he often does, as the “failing New York Times” and claimed it would be out of business if he weren’t in office.
Trump was so upset by this detail that we, and other outlets, reported, that he focused his ire at NYT and had to be talked out of tweeting about it. He’s getting it out of his system tonight. https://t.co/6rRlKGxKii— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 31, 2018
Trump also claimed during the rally that NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is about to be fired, something he predicted Thursday morning on Twitter.
“But the word is they’re firing the head of NBC, what a great thing to do,” he said during the rally. “How smart. Who knows? With these people you never know.”
Trump's barbs on Thursday night came as he launched a series of sustained attacks on news outlets this week, focusing on top executives at CNN and NBC while singling out multiple reporters over the past week.
The president has attacked the Times and other outlets numerous times before, regularly calling them "fake news" while pushing back on critical coverage of his administration.
Trump used his rally Thursday night to also attack Donnelly, going after the incumbent Democrat for voting against the GOP tax bill and against the skinny repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The president mocked Donnelly, calling him “sleepy Joe.”
“A vote for Mike’s opponent, sleepy Joe, is a vote for Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid MORE, Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Manchin: Biden told moderates to pitch price tag for reconciliation bill On The Money — Democrats rush to finish off infrastructure MORE and who else? Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersDemocratic anger grows over treatment of Haitian migrants Advocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Cori Bush hits her stride by drawing on activist past MORE,” Trump said, ticking off the names of Democrats in the House and Senate who are vocal critics of the president.
Trump also referred to an Indianapolis Star story about a study that found Donnelly was the least effective Democratic senator during the 2015-16 session.
“So I’ll have to tell you that if that’s what you want representing Indiana, you can have it,” Trump said.
Donnelly, one of 10 Senate Democrats running for reelection this year in states Trump won in 2016, brushed off the attacks.
“I was unable to watch President Trump's rally tonight, as I was headed back to Washington for Senator McCain's memorial services," Donnelly said in a statement from his campaign after Trump's rally ended.
"We're always happy to have President Trump in Indiana, but Hoosiers still want a senator who always puts them first before any politician or political party. They know that’s what I’ve been for them, and it’s what I’ll continue to be as their Senator next year.”
Updated: 11:45 p.m.