In a wide-ranging press gaggle before departing for the G-7 gathering in France late Friday, President Donald Trump spoke positively of world leaders, North Korea and the economy and said his recent remark calling himself the "chosen one" to fight China on trade was sarcasm.
Speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn, Trump responded with impatience to a question about his unorthodox remark on his role in an escalating trade war with China.
"Let me tell you, you know exactly what I meant," Trump said. "It was sarcasm. It was joking. We were all smiling. And the question like that is just fake news. You're just a faker."
Trump called himself the "chosen one" on Wednesday as he discussed trade disputes with China while refusing to claim the trade conflict as solely his responsibility.
“Somebody said it is Trump’s trade war. This isn’t my trade war,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other presidents.”
Trump tweeted the new assertion Saturday, adding: "When I looked up to the sky and jokingly said 'I am the chosen one,' at a press conference two days ago, referring to taking on Trade with China, little did I realize that the media would claim that I had a 'Messiah complex.'”
Trump also drew a reaction on Friday morning after he tweeted that American companies are "hereby ordered" to find alternatives to manufacturing in China. When asked Friday night what gave him the power to make such a sweeping decree, Trump cited the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the power to regulate commerce during exceptional international crises.