Trump defends tweets as key to White House victory

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump defended his regular use of social media, especially Twitter, and said he may not have won the White House without it.

In an interview airing on Sunday on "Fox Business Network," Trump says he can bypass what he labels unfair media coverage by speaking directly.

"Tweeting is like a typewriter -- when I put it out, you put it immediately on your show," he said, according to a transcript released by the network. "I doubt I would be here if weren’t for social media, to be honest with you."

Trump called his social media accounts on Facebook Inc <FB.O>, Twitter Inc <TWTR.N> and Instagram "a tremendous platform."

"When somebody, says something about me, I am able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it. The other way, I would never be get the word out," he said, according to the transcript.

Republican leaders have regularly urged Trump to avoid or cut back on tweets and Trump acknowledged some friends suggest he not use social media.

Trump regularly mounts attacks on Twitter, especially at news media and political opponents, often sending out missives in the early morning or late evening hours.

At times, Trump's tweets have contained factual inaccuracies and personal attacks.

In March for example, Trump asserted without evidence President Barack Obama had ordered Trump Tower in New York wiretapped - something Obama denied.

In September, the FBI and the Justice Department said in a court filing "they have no records related to wiretaps as described” by tweets from Trump.

He recently excoriated NFL players for taking a knee during the National Anthem.

He also criticized Senator Bob Corker in a series of tweets prompting Corker to respond: "It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."

White House chief of staff John Kelly said last week some have criticized him for failing to control Trump's tweeting. "I was not brought to this job to control anything but the flow of information to our president," Kelly said.

In July, Trump was sued in federal court by seven individuals whom he has blocked on Twitter. The Justice Department said the suit should be dismissed, arguing it "rests on the unsupported and erroneous premise that the president’s Twitter account is a public forum for First Amendment purposes."

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese)

10/22/2017 2:01

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