HERSHEY, Pennsylvania — President-elect Donald Trump went after White House spokesman Josh Earnest during a rally here Thursday, calling him a “foolish guy.”
“This foolish guy Josh Earnest, I don’t know if he’s talking to President Obama. You know, having the right press secretary is so important because he is so bad, the way he delivers a message. He can deliver a positive message and it sounds bad,” Trump said during a stop on his post-election “Thank You Tour.”
Trump added: “The president’s very positive, but he’s not positive and I mean, maybe he’s getting his orders from somebody else. Does that make sense? Could that be possible?”
Trump had more positive things to say about Earnest’s boss, President Barack Obama. Trump dissuaded the crowd from booing the president after he mentioned having a positive conversation with the commander-in-chief recently.
While Trump never mentioned Russia specifically — he mentioned China and Mexico over the course of his speech — the slam on Earnest came on the heels of the White House press secretary emphasizing Russia’s alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee and members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“It is just a fact — you all have it on tape — that the Republican nominee for president was encouraging Russia to hack his opponent, because he believed that would help his campaign,” Earnest said earlier Thursday. “It is not a controversial statement. I’m not trying to be argumentative. But I am trying to acknowledge a basic fact.”
Trump also retold a repeated anecdote about future ambassador to China and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. The president-elect suggested that every time he’d deliver a speech in Iowa during the campaign, Branstad would ask Trump to refrain from saying anything bad about China.
Thousands of people packed into the Giant Center here, braving the cold to see the president-elect make an appearance. Trump delivered many his most popular stump-speech lines, including a full recap of election night from his perspective, complete with mocking of the media coverage and CNN.