Amid several swirling crises engulfing his administration, President Trump used part of his speech Wednseday to graduates at the United States Coast Guard Academy to complain about how unfairly he was being treated by the media.
“Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted,” the president told graduates of the military service academy in New London, Conn. “But you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight.”
“Never ever, ever give up. Things will work out just fine,” Trump continued, in what sounded like a pep talk to himself as much as to the graduates.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,” the president said as some in the crowd chuckled.
“No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly,” Trump claimed. “You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams.”
The commencement speech marked Trump’s first public comments after a bombshell report Tuesday evening that the president had asked then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn. That’s according to a memo Comey wrote about the encounter, first reported by the New York Times and later confirmed to NPR by two sources close to Comey.
The president was unusually quiet on Twitter Wednesday morning, his preferred social media method to weigh in on the controversy du jour.
Trump fired Comey last week, and questions continue to swirl about how much that decision was motivated by the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.
Trump met last week with Russian officials just one day after he fired Comey, and on Monday the Washington Post and other news organizations reported that the president had revealed “highly classified information” to them reportedly from Israel, a key U.S. ally. Trump defended himself on Twitter Tuesday morning, saying that he had the “absolute right” to share information involving ISIS and possible plots to plant bombs in laptops on airlines.
But intelligence experts have warned such a reveal to the Russians could damage other U.S. relationships in gathering information, and the Russians could have even passed on the information to their ally Iran, who is a major threat to Israel in the Middle East region.
The comments to Coast Guard graduates echo ones Trump made at his first commencement address as president this past weekend at Liberty University.
“No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines explaining why it can’t be done,” Trump told graduates at the evangelical school in Lynchburg, Va. “Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic, because they’re people that can’t get the job done.”