President Donald Trump appeared to call for a boycott of AT&T Monday as part of his long-running disagreement with the company’s news operation, CNN.
Trump, who is in London on an official state visit, suggested on Monday morning that CNN is the primary source of information about the U.S. for Britons, and wanted to know why AT&T didn’t “do something” given the network’s “unfair coverage.”
Fox News, one of Trump's favorite outlets, is no longer carried in the U.K. It was dropped in 2017 by Sky, the major pay-TV service in Europe, after Fox News said it would no longer provide its feed.
Trump tweeted, “I believe that if people stoped [sic] using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced to make big changes @CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway. It is so unfair with such bad, Fake News! Why wouldn’t they act. When the World watches @CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!”
In an earlier tweet, Trump pondered, “Why doesn’t AT&T do something?” A spokeswoman for AT&T said the company had “no comment.” CNN also declined comment.
AT&T donated $2 million to Trump's inauguration committee and also paid Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to try to get a clearer understanding of Trump’s thinking. It later admitted that paying Cohen was a mistake.
Despite the efforts to curry favor with Trump, AT&T struggled to get the government’s approval for its acquisition of CNN's previous owner, Time Warner, which was blocked by the Justice Department. The government’s case against the merger ultimately failed.
AT&T is the nation’s ninth-biggest company, with an annual revenue of $170 billion. Its competitors include Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. The latter two companies are currently waiting for the government to approve their merger, reducing competition in the mobile sector.