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President Trump sounded off Tuesday on liberal Supreme Court justices, on CNN’s coverage of his administration, on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s former allies and more at a lively press conference held at the close of his whirlwind first official visit to India.
The president held court in New Delhi following a tour that included a visit to the iconic Taj Mahal, a rally in front of over 110,000 people with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a business roundtable earlier Tuesday morning.
He began by addressing a question from Fox News about his overnight Twitter comments saying two Supreme Court justices — Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg — should recuse themselves from cases surrounding his presidency over past comments. He then singled out Sotomayor for particular criticism.
“I just thought it was so inappropriate, such a terrible statement for a Supreme Court justice,” he said. “She’s trying to shame people with perhaps a different view into voting her way, and that’s so inappropriate.”
Sotomayor, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2009, issued the blistering dissent Friday after a ruling in the case of Wolf v. Cook County.
Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, on a case dealing with the Trump administration’s expansion of situations where the government can deny visas to non-citizens looking to enter the U.S., that it is troubling how often the administration is running to the Supreme Court for relief from injunctions against its policies, and how often the court is granting Trump’s requests.
“It is hard to say what is more troubling,” Sotomayor wrote, “that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it.”
Trump continued Tuesday: “I just don’t know how they can not recuse themselves from anything having to do with Trump or Trump-related. The right thing to do is that.”
Trump added: “What Justice Sotomayor said yesterday was really highly inappropriate and everybody agrees to that. Virtually everybody. I’ve seen papers on it, people cannot believe that she said it.”
Trump also addressed the potential for Russia meddling in the 2020 election and Harvey Weinstein’s rape conviction.
“They went to see Bernie [Sanders] and they told Bernie about something having to do with they want Bernie to win. They did not tell me, intelligence never told me … anything about that and it was sort of a strange thing that they went to Bernie,” Trump said, before mentioning reports that the initial claims about 2020 Russian meddling may have been “highly exaggerated” and criticizing the House Intelligence Committee for alleged leaks, blaming Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
He later declared: “I want no help from any country, and I haven’t been given help by any country,” before taking shots at CNN reporter Jim Acosta, over a question on the Russia meddling matter.
“Your record is so bad you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You probably have the worst record in the history of broadcasting,” Trump charged.
As the two talked over each other, Acosta retorted, “I think our record on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours sometimes, if you don’t mind me saying.”
On Weinstein, Trump said of the former Hollywood mogul: “I will say, the people that liked him were the Democrats. Michelle Obama loved him, loved him, Michelle Obama loved him, and he gave tremendous money to the Democrats. And I guess my question is, will the Democrats be asking for that money back?”
Shortly after, Trump had another exchange with the media in attendance, criticizing one reporter for taking a microphone from another.
“You ripped the mic out of her hand, you can’t do that,” Trump said. “Boy, that wasn’t very nice.”
Additionally, Trump answered a question about personnel moves in his administration in the wake of stories that it is purging anti-Trump officials.
“We had a whistleblower who was a fake,” Trump said, addressing the Ukraine scandal that was the basis for impeachment proceedings against him. “We want to have people who are good to our country, who are loyal to our country.”
His administration has defended the moves by saying anyone who wishes to see their preferred policies enacted should run for president.
Trump also addressed questions on a potential trade deal between India and the U.S., the disputed Kashmir region, Venezuela, China’s ejection of three Wall Street Journal reporters, alleged Indian discrimination against Muslims, his administration’s own travel ban and coronavirus.
In less hard-hitting remarks, Trump also heaped praise on Modi and the red carpet that India laid out for his visit.
“Somebody said it was the greatest greeting ever given to any head of state from any country,” Trump said. “I admire your country tremendously … I think it’s really a diplomacy of friendship.”
At the roundtable just about an hour before the press conference, Trump chatted with various business leaders in a question-and-answer session about the U.S. economy, his efforts to negotiate a trade deal with China, the fight against coronavirus, a potential election-year tax cut for the middle class and his thoughts on the Democratic presidential candidates.
“If I don’t win, you’re going to see a crash like you’ve never seen before,” Trump boldly claimed the day after the Dow closed down over 1,000 points, dismissing the drop as a minor hiccup in the economy and warning against Democrats’ economic plans.
On his visit Monday to the world’s largest cricket stadium for a joint rally with Modi, Trump announced a new military partnership between the U.S. and India, a $3 billion deal that will send state-of-the-art military helicopters to the country.
President Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, pause as they tour the Taj Mahal, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Agra, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
“I believe that the United States should be India’s premier defense partner and that’s the way it’s working out,” Trump said.
Despite the fact Trump and his wife Melania are joined by a 12-person official delegation, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Special Representative for International Telecommunications Policy Robert Blair, the military deal is likely to be the only major policy announcement that will come out of Trump’s trip.
The delegation’s schedule Tuesday included a bilateral meeting with Indian representatives. The two countries are strategically aligned on a number of issues, including containing China, preventing war with nuclear-armed Pakistan and cracking down on Islamic terrorism. One major area the two countries see room to grow in is energy.
There is a lack of consensus between the U.S. and India on several major issues, but both sides say they are optimistic differences can be worked out.
The president’s visit to the subcontinent will conclude Tuesday night with a state dinner before he returns to the United States on Wednesday.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Kellianne Jones contributed to this report.