Trump thanks Jimmy Carter for remarks about media coverage

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Saturday thanked his predecessor Jimmy Carter for saying the media coverage of him had been the most negative he had ever seen.

“Just read the nice remarks by President Jimmy Carter about me and how badly I am treated by the press (Fake News). Thank you President!” Trump said in a tweet.

The 93-year-old Carter made his comments in an interview published a week ago by the New York Times, saying that he wanted to help Trump lower tensions with North Korea and that media coverage of the current President had been particularly harsh.

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other President, certainly that I’ve known about,” Carter, of the Democratic Party and President from 1977 to 1981, said in an interview with Times columnist Maureen Dowd, adding that journalists “feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation”.

Carter’s remarks contrast with speeches earlier this month by two other ex-Presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who denounced rising polarization in the US in thinly veiled attacks on Trump that did not mention the president by name.

Asked during the interview whether Trump was deepening the racial divide in the US, Carter said he thought he was.

“Yes, I think he is exacerbating it,” he said. “But maybe not deliberately.”

Trump made no mention in his Saturday morning tweets about news that a grand jury on Friday had approved the first charges in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and purported collusion with Russia by Trump’s campaign.

CNN and the Wall Street Journal reported that at least one person had been charged and could be taken into custody as early as Monday. Trump has slammed Mueller’s investigation as nothing more than a witch hunt.

In a separate tweet Saturday, Trump also blasted the media for what he said was insufficient coverage of third-quarter growth in the US gross domestic product, which the Commerce Department said had expanded by a greater-than-expected 3 percent between July and September despite the impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas and Hurricane Irma on Florida.

The economy grew 3 percent after expanding at a clip of 3.1 per cent in the second quarter.