Trump decries whistleblower story as 'another media disaster'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff 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 KavanaughSusan Collins raises .1 million in third quarter Poll: 50 percent of Maine voters disapprove of Susan Collins's job performance Collins challenger raises .2 million in third quarter 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 TrudeauObama calls on Canada to reelect Trudeau The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to hit gas on impeachment Greta Thunberg: I don't understand why 'grown-ups' mock 'acting on the science' 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) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network 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 BidenTrump says lawmakers should censure Schiff Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public Trump threat lacks teeth to block impeachment witnesses 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 GiulianiTrump threat lacks teeth to block impeachment witnesses Sondland could provide more clues on Ukraine controversy Top US diplomat William Taylor scheduled to testify in impeachment probe MORE, have claimed that the former vice president should be further investigated in Ukraine.