WASHINGTON (CBS News) — As President Donald Trump prepares to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night on his goals for the year, the new president thinks he’s done pretty well so far.
In an interview with Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump said he would give himself an “A plus” for effort, an “A” for achievement — though he conceded that he would grade himself lower on messaging, giving himself a “C or a C plus.”
He also shares that lower grade with his communications staff, “my people,” however.
“Because I think I’ve done great things, but I don’t think I have — I and my people, I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public,” he said. “I think I get an A in terms of what I’ve actually done, but in terms of messaging, I’d give myself a C or a C plus.”
Asked how he was going to improve his score on messaging, Trump replied: “Well, maybe I change it during the speech,” a reference to his address to Congress Tuesday night.
Asked how he will pay for his proposed increase in defense spending, Mr. Trump suggested he might not need to cut from other agencies like the State Department. The more than $50 billion in additional funding will come from increased revenue, he said.
“Well, I think the money is going to come from a revved up economy,” he said. “I mean you look at the kind of numbers we’re doing, we were probably GDP of a little more than 1 percent, and if I can get that up to 3 or maybe more, we have a whole different ball game.”
In the interview, Mr. Trump also addressed his recently announced decision not to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner in April — the first time since 1981 that the sitting president has not attended.
Asked why he made the decision he did, Mr. Trump replied: “Well, I am not a hypocrite. And I haven’t been treated properly.”
Mr. Trump said the media runs “made up” stories from “made up” sources, saying much of what he reads in the press is “pure fiction.”
“I just thought, in light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things we’re talking about now – I thought it would be inappropriate,” he said, adding that it “doesn’t mean [he’s] not going to do it next year.”