WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump in a speech Monday to members of the U.S. armed forces said he was committed to bolstering their funding by demanding more from NATO partners and also accused the news media of not reporting on terrorist attacks.
“Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland — as they did on 9/11 — as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino and all across Europe,” Trump said at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. “ ... And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”
The three attacks Trump cited on U.S. soil received widespread news coverage.
Asked later in the day which instances Trump felt were not reported on, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “We’ll provide a list later.”
In a briefing with reporters aboard Air Force One, Spicer sought to clarify that the president believes certain unspecified instances of terrorism were “underreported,” not unreported. He would not specify.
“Protests will get blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage,” Spicer said.
Trump’s remarks to uniformed personnel came after a briefing by U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.
It was his first visit to the base as commander in chief.
“We will make a historic financial investment in the Armed Forces of the United States and show the entire world that America stands with those who stand in defense of freedom,” Trump said. “We have your back every hour, every day now and always.”
He said of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance, “We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper financial contributions.”
Trump had begun his day with tweets criticizing recent poll results and the news outlets that conducted them.
“Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting,” Trump tweeted.
A CNN/ORC poll released Friday found 53 percent of Americans oppose the travel restrictions imposed under his executive order, which has since been halted by a judge.
Spicer said the administration is “absolutely not” considering withdrawing the ban.
Trump also appeared to take issue with reports that others, such as his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, were directing him in the White House.
“I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it. Some FAKE NEWS media, in order to marginalize, lies!” he wrote.
The White House has pushed back in the past against negative polling. Asked Friday about a CBS News poll that showed the president had a 40 percent job approval rating, Spicer offered the results of a Rasmussen poll from late December that showed Trump with a 51 percent favorability rating.
The president spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he attended a Super Bowl party on Sunday night. He returned Monday night to Washington, D.C.