PRESIDENT Donald Trump gave himself a “C’ grade for communication and blamed Barack Obama for the White House leaks and national protests in a revealing new interview.

The Republican acknowledged his immigration goals may not have been communicated effectively in an interview with Fox & Friends television program on Tuesday.

“In terms of achievement, I think I’d give myself an A. Because I think I’ve done great things. But I don’t think I have — I and my people — I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public,” he said.

“I think I get an A in terms of what I’ve actually done, but in terms of messaging, I’d give myself a C or a C+.”

President Donald Trump said in a new interview that he thinks President Barack Obama and his loyalists are behind protests and White Housse leaks. Picture: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The US leader also said he believes Former President Obama is behind some of the protests against Republican politicians across the country.

He responded to a question about the protests, saying, “I think that President Obama is behind it, because his people are certainly behind it.”

He added that he thinks Obama loyalists are also behind White House leaks.

How would @POTUS grade himself?
Effort: A+
Messaging: C or C+
Achievement: A

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

"I think I’ve done just about more than anybody in the first 4 weeks [in office]." -@POTUS

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

“I think President Obama’s behind it, because his people are certainly behind it.” -@POTUS on some of the protests around the country

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

“I also understand that’s politics,” Mr Trump conceded. “And in terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. And it will probably continue.” He says he’s not surprised, saying, “I’m changing things that (Obama) wanted to do.”

He also said he’s tougher than Mr Obama in terms of his efforts to deport anyone living in the country illegally.


Mr Trump also denied that there’s a “major leak process” at the White House following reports that White House press secretary Sean Spicer targeted leaks from his own staff.

Mr Trump responded to a Politico report that said Spicer convened an “emergency meeting” after details of a planning meeting got out, and conducted a “phone check” to prove they hadn’t been leaking information.

IDonald Trump has said that former President Barack Obama is to blame for widespread protests against his government and White House leaks. Picture: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

He says he “would have handled it differently than Sean. But Sean handles it his way and I’m OK with it.” Trump says “Sean Spicer is a fine human being,” but adds, “I would have gone one-on-one with different people.”

Mr Trump also said White House officials have “sort of ideas” about who may have leaked information, adding that “we have people from other campaigns, we have people from other governments.”

Mr Trump also had another crack at the media, saying he wouldn’t use his favoured platform Twitter is the media was “honest.”

“If I felt the media were honest, all or most of it, I wouldn’t use Twitter. But it’s a modern-day form of communication,” he said.

.@POTUS: If I felt the media were honest, all or most of it, I wouldn’t use Twitter. But it’s a modern-day form of communication.

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

.@POTUS reacts to WH staffers’ phone check: "I would’ve handled it differently than Sean, but Sean handles it his way & I’m ok with it"

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

"I can’t [take racist accusations personally]…I have to write it off as purely politics." -@POTUS

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

.@POTUS addresses skipping WHCD: In light of the fact of fake news, I thought it would be inappropriate that I went

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017


Mr Trump also responded to jokes in host Jimmy Kimmel’s Academy Awards monologue that insinuated he’s racist.

“It just seems the other side, whenever they are losing badly, they always pull out the race card,” Trump said.

Among other jokes at Mr Trump’s expense, Kimmel said “Remember when last year the Oscars were considered racist?” suggesting that now things are even worse with Mr Trump.

“The fact is, I did pretty well, much better than past people in the Republican Party in the recent election, having to do with Hispanics, having to do with African Americans,” he said. “I did pretty well or I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

When asked if he took Kimmel’s joke seriously, he said, “I can’t.”

“Because I consider it a very serious [accusation] when they say it and I have to write it off as purely politics.”


Mr Trump also said he’s skipping this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner because he feels mistreated by the media.

“I am not a hypocrite. I haven’t been treated properly,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump will be the first sitting President to miss the annual dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981 when he was recuperating after being shot by John Hinckley Jr.

“In light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things we’re talking about, I thought it would be inappropriate,” Mr Trump told Fox & Friends. “I have great respect for the press. I have great respect for reporters and the profession. I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do it.”

Mr Trump also reiterated his belief that mainstream journalists have fabricated stories about him. “I believe a lot of the stories are made up. They’re pure fiction,” he said.

Trump complimented the Fox & Friends team for treating him “very fairly.” He called himself “a friend” to the show.


Mr Trump’s advisers say he will use his prime-time speech Tuesday to declare early progress on his campaign promises, including withdrawing the US from a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact, and to map a path ahead on thorny legislative priorities, including health care, infrastructure, and military spending. “We’re going to spend a lot more money on military,” Mr Trump said on Fox & Friends, saying he could stand to see even $US30 billion (AUD$40 billion) more than what’s being recommended.

“We’re going to get involved in negotiating. We’re going to be able to get, I think, a lot more product for a buck and I’m going to be very, very serious about it,” he said.

To crack down on leaks, White House press secretary Sean Spicer reportedly collected his aides’ mobile phones to check for communication with reporters. Picture: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

He also said the extra $US54 billion ($70 billion) he has proposed spending on the US military will be offset by a stronger economy as well as cuts in other areas.

“I think the money is going to come from a revved up economy,” Mr Trump said.

“I mean you look at the kind of numbers we’re doing, we were probably GDP of a little more than one per cent and if I can get that up to three or maybe more, we have a whole different ball game. It’s a whole different ball game.”

Earlier in the week, Mr Trump outlined what he called a “historic” increase in defence spending which has run into opposition from Republicans in Congress who say it is not enough to meet the military’s needs.

The proposed rise in the Pentagon budget to $US603 billion ($705 billion) comes as the US has wound down major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and remains the world’s strongest military power.

The plan came under fire from Democratic politicians, who said cuts being proposed to pay for the additional military spending would cripple important domestic programs such as environmental protection and education.

Donald Trump expects to get a $70 billion increase in military spending from a “revved up economy.” Picture: AP/Evan Vucci Source:AP


Meanwhile, Mr Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution.

A senior White House official says the order will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to review a rule that redefined “waters of the United States” protected under the Clean Water Act to include smaller creeks and wetlands.

The official briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, despite the president’s recent complaints about unnamed sources.

Mr Trump had railed against the water rule during his campaign, slamming it as an example of federal overreach. Farmers and landowners have criticised the rule, saying there are already too many government regulations that affect their businesses, and Republicans have been working to thwart it since its inception.

OMB Director says they have to take an ax to entitlements. Treasury Secretary says they aren’t touching them. So who’s right? @POTUS reacts

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

"We’re set to propose a [health care] plan, and I’ll be talking about it, as you know, tonight." -@POTUS

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

.@POTUS expects he’ll be able to get some of the $54B increase in military spending "from a revved up economy"

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017

"We will be having the greatest military that we ever had by the time I finish." -@POTUS

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 28, 2017


Mr Trump also acknowledged that there remained hundreds of unfilled jobs in his administration, but says “they’re unnecessary to have.”

Mr Trump said he has no intention of filling many of the open positions. “I say, ‘What do all these people do?’ You don’t need all those jobs.”

Mr Trump also said that some are looking to criticise him for eliminating those positions, but he adds, “That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. We’re running a very good, efficient government.”


With his first address to Congress tonight, Mr Trump has an opportunity to refocus his young administration on the economic issues that helped him get elected. His allies hope it will help him move beyond the distractions and self-inflicted wounds that he has dealt with so far.

Aides say his prime time address to politicians and the nation will tilt the focus back toward the type of bread and butter issues that helped win him the presidency.

“All I can do is speak from the heart and say what I want to do,” Mr Trump tsaid on Fox & Friends, according to excerpts of an interview to air ahead of his Tuesday address.

Trump’s focus will be “solving real problems for real people” said a senior administration official, previewing an address centred on “economic opportunity.”

Mr Trump’s advisers say he will use his prime-time speech Tuesday to declare early progress on his campaign promises, including withdrawing the US from a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact, and to map a path ahead on thorny legislative priorities, including health care and infrastructure spending.

The White House said Mr Trump has been gathering ideas for the address from the series of listening sessions he’s been holding with law enforcement officials, union representatives, coal miners and others. Aides said he was still tinkering with his speech.

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