While announcing his controversial decision to declare a national emergency at the southern border, President Donald Trump delivered a rambling speech that drifted from topic to topic, including touching on the influence conservative media figures have over his policy decisions.
But while Trump praised Fox News host Sean Hannity and syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, he didn’t show the same affection for Ann Coulter, a conservative columnist and author who has been critical of the president’s inability to secure funding to construct a wall along the southern border.
“Ann Coulter, I don’t know her. I hardly know her. I haven’t spoken to her in well over a year,” Trump said Friday morning. “But she’s off the reservation … I haven’t spoken to her. I don’t follow her. I don’t talk to her.”
Coulter didn’t take too kindly to Trump’s comments. During a radio appearance on KABC radio in Los Angeles Friday morning, the conservative author of In Trump We Trust didn’t mince words about what she now thinks about the commander-in-chief.
“The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot,” Coulter said. “He’s a lazy incompetent. The problem is he listens to Jared [Kushner] and his staffers. He’s surrounded himself with people who have no experience in government. They’re either absolute morons, or their patsys, or they’re actively hostile to the wall, like Jared and Ivanka.”
Coulter also wrote on Twitter she thinks Trump’s goal with declaring a national emergency isn’t to secure funds to build his border wall, it’s simply a cynical political play for his conservative supporters.
“The goal of a national emergency is for Trump to scam the stupidest people in his base for 2 more years,” Coulter wrote.
When asked by NBC News correspondent Kelly O’Donnell at the White House about the influence of Fox News and conservative media, Trump denied that right-wing pundits like Hannity, Limbaugh and Coulter had any impact on his decision making.
“Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do. Not of me. If I changed my views he wouldn’t be with me,” Trump said. “They don’t decide policy.”
Despite that, Trump called several conservative pundits on Thursday in an attempt to convince them not to criticize his decision to sign a bipartisan spending bill that provided a fraction of the funding he sought to build his border wall, according to the New York Times. Among the pundits Trump reportedly called were Hannity and Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who have both pushed the president to declare an emergency along the southern border to secure funding for the wall.
“This is the time. That is a necessity,” Hannity said on his Fox News show earlier this week.
During his speech at the Rose Garden, Trump praised Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, whose one-on-one interview with the president earlier this week following his rally in El Paso, Texas, drew more than 4 million viewers.
“The president’s instincts on this have always been right. Truthful, pragmatic thinking," Ingraham said Thursday night. Ingraham had been highly critical of the bipartisan spending bill, and urged Trump not to sign it.
Carlson, also a hard-liner on immigration, lost upwards of 20 advertisers after saying in December that allowing certain immigrants to enter the United States “makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided.”