President Trump on Friday railed against the use of anonymous sources in news reports about his administration, calling it “bullshit.”
The president went on a tangent during remarks to the National Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C., complaining about news coverage of his administration’s approach to Iran.
He disputed that he is at odds with some of his top advisers on the subject, before mocking the way some of the reports use unnamed administration officials.
“Do you ever notice they never write the names of people anymore?” Trump said. “Everything is ‘a source says.’ There is no source. The person doesn’t exist. The person’s not alive. It’s bullshit, OK? It’s bullshit.”
News outlets often quote government officials who are granted anonymity to speak candidly without fear of retribution.
Just this week, an official from the Trump administration detailing its immigration plan did so on the condition they be referred to only as a senior administration official and not by their name.
Trump went on to deride journalists as “bad people,” said he had to rely on speeches and social media to disseminate his message and claimed he came up with the term “fake news.” While the term existed prior to Trump, the president frequently deploys the insult to ridicule unfavorable coverage.
The president has been fixated in recent days on news reports about the administration’s strategy in dealing with Iran. Tensions between the U.S. and Tehran have flared in recent weeks, raising questions about whether the Trump administration is preparing for military action.
In a pair of tweets earlier Friday and again at the realtors’ conference, Trump disputed that he’s upset with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. He suggested that the reports he has denied may actually be beneficial in clouding the administration’s intentions.
“They put out so many false messages that Iran is totally confused,” he said. “I don’t know, that might be a good thing.”
The Trump administration over the past few weeks has deployed an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf — as well as a Patriot missile defense battery and a bomber task force — and ordered diplomatic staff to leave the U.S. Embassy in Iraq over fears that Iran may be preparing to carry out attacks on Americans.
Trump said Thursday he hopes the U.S. does not go to war with Iran.
While Trump claimed the media reporting has led to confusion over his plans for addressing the conflict with Iran, lawmakers in both parties have voiced frustration over the lack of information coming from the White House.
Multiple senators, including Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have in recent days lamented that the Trump administration has not adequately briefed lawmakers on the threat emanating from Iran.
Congressional leaders received a classified briefing on Thursday. Both the full Senate and the full House are expected to receive a briefing next Tuesday.