In rare praise for the Democrat-friendly media – at least one paper – former President Donald Trump hailed the "courage" of The Washington Post for issuing a retraction of its erroneous claim he pressured Georgia election officials to "find votes" from the November presidential election to be an American "hero."
"It probably affected the Senate race" in Georgia's Jan. 5 runoff elections won by a pair of Democrats, Trump told Tuesday Fox News' "Primetime" with Maria Bartiromo. "But it was a terrible thing.
"And I will say this: I was very happy that The Washington Post had the courage – or whatever you want to call it – to at least admit their mistake. I hope it was a mistake."
Trump did tell Bartiromo in a 22-minute interview via telephone that the fake news could have been spurred on by anti-Trump forces embedded within Georgia's election officials.
"But I think, probably, it came from the people in Georgia that ran the election process," Trump added, suggesting it came even from Republicans at the top, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger or GOP Gov. Brian Kemp. "That, frankly, it is just absolutely terrible when you look at the things that went on in Georgia."
Trump expressed confidence the reported claims he pressured officials to find votes to be an American hero were not his true words, and they were strategically taken out of context for political expediency.
"The Washington Post may have been told that," Trump said. "They didn't hear it because it didn't exist, but they were told something that didn't exist. It made me sound bad, and I think when I heard it, I said, 'that's ridiculous; I never said that.'"
Trump said the Post retraction might not have come without having been "pressured" to do so after the fact.
"A lot of pressure was put on them, but they made a correction because they realize what they did was wrong," Trump said. "Now what you have to find out, was that The Washington Post's fault, or the people that run the elections in Georgia?
"The people who run the elections in Georgia, they have to be looked at – whether it was a secretary of state or, frankly, the governor of the state. Things went on there between the presidential election, which I can tell you about, or you look at the two Senate elections. It is such a shame that happened.
"They were relying on the statement made by people in Georgia that run the elections. It's a very terrible thing, very terrible thing for our country."