Politics

Trump breaks from vacation to vent outrage at media, rally his base

President Trump at a campaign-style rally last week in Huntington, W.Va.
Doug Mills/New York Times
President Trump at a campaign-style rally last week in Huntington, W.Va.

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Trump broke away from his summer vacation Monday for a barrage of Twitter posts lashing out at the “Fake News” media and insisting that his political base was “getting stronger” despite investigations into possible collusion between Russia and his associates.

Rising early at his golf resort in Bedminster, where he is staying for 17 days, Trump vented his frustration that he is not getting the credit he argues he deserves for political strength and the accomplishments of his six-month presidency.

“The Trump base is far bigger and stronger than ever before despite some phony fake news polling,’’ the president said in a string of Twitter messages, pointing to rallies he has held in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

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“The fact is the fake news Russian collusion story, record stock market, border security, military strength, jobs, Supreme Court pick, economic enthusiasm, deregulation, and so much more have driven the Trump base even closer together,’’ he said. “Will never change!”

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White House officials have been urging the president to refocus on immigration and other issues that resonate with conservatives, evangelicals, and working-class whites who helped put him in the Oval Office. The effort underscores Trump’s shaky political position seven months into his presidency.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway acknowledged the concerns Sunday on ABC, saying the president’s approval rating is down slightly among Trump voters. ‘‘It needs to go up,’’ she said.

Trump arrived in New Jersey on Friday for a break while the West Wing undergoes a renovation to upgrade the air conditioning. The furniture has been removed from the Oval Office and most of the staff relocated to an office building next door.

The president cited this to argue that he was not really on vacation. He had earlier insisted that Congress not go on vacation until it passed legislation repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law, but the bill was defeated in the Senate and lawmakers have now left town.

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“Working hard from New Jersey while White House goes through long planned renovation,” he wrote. “Going to New York next week for more meetings.”

He went after some of his most consistent targets, including The New York Times and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut.

“The failing @nytimes, which has made every wrong prediction about me including my big election win (apologized), is totally inept!” he wrote. He did not specify any particular article that angered him.

The assertion that the newspaper apologized for its coverage last year is not true, but Trump has continued to say it even after being corrected.

Trump has regularly assailed Blumenthal when he has seen him on television criticizing him.

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“Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!” he wrote.

“Never in US history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam battles and conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?”

Blumenthal received at least five deferments from military service during the Vietnam era and then went into the Marine Reserve, where he served in a unit in Washington. But as a politician, he referred to himself as having “served in Vietnam” or “served during the Vietnam era.”

The article exposing these false statements in 2010 did not, however, report that he told stories about Vietnam battles or conquests. Trump received five deferments from the draft, four for college and one for bad feet.