At a Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, President Trump told veterans and guests that they shouldn't believe what they're reading about his administration or seeing on the news.
"Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening," Trump said. "Just stick with us, don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news."
After delivering his remarks, Trump pointed out reporters covering his speech, leading to boos and hisses from scores of veterans in attendance.
Attacking the media isn't new for a president who constantly uses the phrase "fake news" in an attempt to delegitimize certain media outlets and their stories. But as critics pointed out following the speech, Trump's comments closely echoed a quote from George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, about a future society oppressed by a powerful government led by a cult-like figure only known as "Big Brother."
Ben Kesling, a Marine Corps veteran who covers veterans issues for the Wall Street Journal, was among the many critical of Trump's attempt to paint journalists covering his speech in a negative light.
"This morning I attended a House VA Committee hearing in order to make sure VA officials answered my questions abut the claims appeals process and complaints that it isn't serving vets properly," Kesling wrote.
Philip Rucker, the Washington Post's White House bureau chief who was also in attendance, said not all the veterans joined in with Trump's attack on the media.
In the speech, Trump was attempting to defend his aggressive policy of adding tariffs on foreign imports in retaliation for what his administration calls unfair trade practices from China, the European Union, Mexico and Canada. These trade disputes have ended up hurting many industries, including Midwest farmers impacted after China retaliated with its own tariffs on soybeans and pork.
The aggressive policies have also hurt newspaper companies, including the Philadelphia Media Network, which publishes the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com. The Trump administration's tariff on Canadian newsprint, which benefits a New York private equity firm that owns a single paper mill in Longview, Wash., has pushed up prices in the United States by about 30 percent.
Tuesday morning, Trump's administration announced a new $12 billion plan to provide direct assistance to farmers impact by the trade disputes. Officials told the Associated Press the plan wouldn't need congressional approval and would come through a wing of the Agriculture Department that managed agricultural prices.
Among the critics of the plan were several Republicans, including Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), who called the policy "incoherent" while pushing for Congress to block the president's tariffs on U.S. allies.
"I am glad that the administration finally seems to understand that the Trump-Pence tariffs are hurting the American people," Corker said in a statement. "These tariffs are a massive tax increase on American consumers and businesses, and instead of offering welfare to farmers to solve a problem they themselves created, the administration should reverse course and end this incoherent policy."