President Trump reeled off a list of his favorite media personalities on Friday when asked who might have influenced his decision to declare a national emergency after Congress refused to give him money for a border wall.
Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — a powerful bloc of conservative voices who have railed against any budget compromise on wall funding — all received shout-outs in a Rose Garden news conference.
“Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do,” Mr. Trump said of the Fox News commentator.
He praised Mr. Limbaugh for his ability to command an audience. “He can speak for three hours without a phone call,” Mr. Trump said. “Try doing that sometime. For three hours he speaks. He’s got one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world. I mean, this guy is unbelievable.”
The president added that none of the favorites he mentioned, most of whom work for Fox News, drove his decisions: “They don’t decide policy,” he said.
The question that got Mr. Trump to discuss his cable and radio cheering squad came from the NBC News reporter Kelly O’Donnell. It seemed apt after what had occurred in December, when the presidency seemed perhaps more entwined than usual with prominent figures in conservative media.
At the time, Mr. Trump appeared willing to sign a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown, even without money for the wall. Then a few of his most influential supporters, including Mr. Hannity and Mr. Limbaugh, lasered in on the lack of wall funding and pleaded with Mr. Trump to refuse to sign the bill. He did exactly that, leading to a 35-day shutdown, the longest in the government’s history.
This week, as the deadline on the temporary spending measure that ended the shutdown loomed, the president was willing to go ahead with a newly proposed budget, even though it had less money for a border wall than was on the table at one point last year.
In contrast to December, Mr. Trump reached out to a synod of conservative commentators in an effort to assuage their concerns.
He talked with Mr. Hannity and Lou Dobbs, the Fox Business Network host. The purpose was to politick the right-wing media with the message that Mr. Trump deserved support for the new bill because he had forced concessions.
He also would declare a national emergency as a way to get around Congress and provide dollars for the wall, a move conservatives championed.
“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or the other,” Mr. Trump said in the Rose Garden. “It’s an invasion. We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”
But not everyone in the right-wing punditocracy endorsed Mr. Trump. Ann Coulter, who was an early supporter of the president, has now become a thorn in his side.
In December, she published a blistering column on her website calling Mr. Trump a “gigantic douchebag” for not having made headway on a border wall. This week, as many anticipated Mr. Trump’s willingness to approve the spending bill, she didn’t let up, saying on Twitter that the goal of the national emergency “is for Trump to scam the stupidest people in his base for 2 more years.”
The president spoke of Ms. Coulter on Friday, but not in the most glowing terms.
“I don’t know her,” the president said Friday. “I haven’t spoken to her in way over a year. But the press loves saying ‘Ann Coulter.’”
He continued: “I have nothing against her. In fact, I like her for one reason. When they asked her, right at the beginning, who is going to win the election? She said, ‘Donald Trump.’ And the two people that asked her that question smiled. They said, ‘You’re kidding, aren’t you?’ ‘Nope, Donald Trump.’ So I like her.”
A few seconds later, he added, “But she’s off the reservation, but anybody who knows her understands that.”
After the news conference, Ms. Coulter tweeted: “He seems to think ‘the reservation’ is HIM, not his campaign promises.”
Three minutes later, she posted another, this time about the constitutional provision allowing for the removal of a president from office: “No. 1 trending topic on Twitter: 25th Amendment.”
Mr. Trump also cued up one of his old anti-press hits during the news conference. When Jim Acosta, the CNN reporter whose White House credentials he suspended late last year, asked about “critics who say you’re creating a national emergency in order to get your wall,” the president was ready.
“Your question is a very political question, because you have an agenda,” he said. “You’re CNN. You’re fake news.”