Trump decries whistleblower story as 'another media disaster'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE on Friday ripped into the press for its coverage of a whistleblower complaint that reportedly raised concerns about a conversation he had with a Ukrainian leader, calling it "another media disaster."

The president took questions from reporters for roughly 30 minutes in the Oval Office during a meeting with the Australian prime minister, where he defended his conduct around foreign leaders and blamed the media for overblowing the controversy.


"It’s another media disaster," he said. "The media has lost so much credibility in this country. Our media has become the laughingstock of the world."

"Keep asking questions and build it up as big as possible so you can have a bigger downfall," added Trump, who admitted he had not personally read the complaint.

The president cited The New York Times's handling of reporting on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughRoberts court tempers conservative expectations OVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe Five takeaways from Supreme Court's rulings on Trump tax returns MORE and "so many other things" in declaring it "one of the worst weeks in the history of the fake news media."

"You have been wrong on so many things. And this one will be — I wouldn't say it will top the list ... but the media of our country is laughed at all over the world now," adding, "You're a joke."

"OK, what else?" he concluded, inviting additional questions on the relationship with Australia, the blackface scandal involving Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauTrudeau: Canada handled coronavirus better than many countries, 'including our neighbor' Trump and Mexico: 3 basic truths of the bilateral relationship revealed Trump and Mexico's president have a big agenda on trade and beyond MORE and the United Nations. 

The exchange underscored Trump's complicated relationship with the media.

He regularly decries unfavorable coverage as "fake news," but the latest diatribe against the press came on the heels of a three-day trip out West in which he spent hours chatting with reporters traveling with him.

The whistleblower complaint represents a potentially serious problem for Trump, whose remarks on Friday highlighted his annoyance with the story in a way that resembled his attacks on the media over the Russia investigation led by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE.

The Washington Post first reported on Wednesday that the whistleblower account involved Trump making a "promise" to a foreign leader. The Post and The New York Times later reported that the incident in question involved Ukraine.

Trump on Friday dismissed the complaint as a "partisan hack job," saying the focus should instead be on Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Teachers face off against Trump on school reopenings Biden wins Puerto Rico primary MORE's ties to Ukraine.

"It doesn't matter what I discussed, but I'll tell you this, somebody ought to look into Joe Biden's statement," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with the Australian prime minister.

The president's allies have seized on Biden’s connection to Ukraine in an attempt to paint the former vice president and front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination as corrupt.

Biden’s son Hunter worked with a natural gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch. Biden pushed in 2016 for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been accused of overlooking corruption in his own office.

While there’s no indication Biden was acting with his son’s interests in mind, Trump’s allies, including attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' READ: Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman testifies Barr 'repeatedly urged' him to resign MORE, have claimed that the former vice president should be further investigated in Ukraine.