Trump praises Anderson Cooper for being 'surprisingly tough' on Comey

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE early Thursday offered rare praise for CNN, telling "Fox & Friends" that Anderson Cooper "was surprisingly tough" and "did a good job" during a town hall event the night before that featured former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyClash with Trump marks latest break with GOP leaders for Justin Amash Giuliani says Trump is 'doing the right thing' by resisting congressional subpoenas Giuliani strikes back at Comey: 'No one really respects him' MORE.

"I watched leaking, lying Comey last night and I did, I hated to do it," the president told "Fox & Friends" co-hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade.

"One of the reasons — people say, 'you are still looking good, Mr. President, how do you do it?' One of the things I've been able to do, which is something I never thought I had the ability, I would always watch," he continued, referring to CNN, a network he has criticized more than any other since taking office.

"Now, frankly, I don't have time for two reasons, there is too much, and I don't have time, but I would watch, whether it is good or bad, I would always watch. I have an ability, I don't watch NBC anymore. They're as bad as CNN. I don't — by the way, I made them a fortune with 'The Apprentice.' Think of that one," Trump noted.

"Your alma mater," Doocy injected.

"I made them a fortune. You would think they treat me great but they treat me horribly and treat me falsely," he added. "I don't watch things. I can put it out of my mind. I never ever thought that would be possible. You know what that does? It keeps you on the ball. It keeps you — you keep your sanity."

"And it works very well but last night I did watch, I did watch a liar, leaker," Trump said in reference to Comey. "His performance, by the way, was horrible. I will say this, Anderson Cooper was surprisingly tough and he did a good job."

"He did," Kilmeade concurred.

Cooper hosted the CNN town hall Wednesday evening with Comey at his alma mater, William & Mary.

Trump's "Fox & Friends" phone interview marks the first time the president has conducted a cable news interview since Feb. 24, when he was questioned by Jeanine Pirro, who hosts a Saturday night program on Fox News Channel.

Trump has done 22 interviews with Fox News since taking office in January 2017.

His last interview with CNN occurred in August 2016, when he talked to Cooper by phone while he was still a candidate. The president has not appeared on MSNBC in 23 months.