US President Donald Trump has used his second TV interview since taking power to defend his son Barron and to denounce pop star Madonna as “disgusting”.
At a recent anti-Trump rally, Madonna yelled expletives and said she had thought about “blowing up” the White House.
“Honestly, she’s disgusting. I think she hurt herself very badly. I think she hurt that whole cause,” Mr Trump said during the hour-long interview on Friday with his friend Sean Hannity at Fox News.
“What she said was disgraceful to this country.”
The President also said it was a “disgrace” for a comedy writer at Saturday Night Live to criticise his young son Barron. “For NBC to attack my 10-year-old son … it’s a disgrace.”
SNL writer Katie Rich was suspended indefinitely for the post on Twitter and has since apologised.
The incident sparked debate about respecting the privacy of the children of presidents, with Bill Clinton’s daughter Chelsea calling on the media to leave Barron alone.
Mr Trump also discussed his fractious relationship with the mainstream media, his upcoming Supreme Court justice selection, the threat of Islamic terrorism (“sneaky, dirty rats who are sick and demented”), the “repaired” relationship between the US and Israel, and his contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He [Putin] called me after I won, but I haven’t had a discussion, but I understand we will be having a discussion soon,” he told Fox News.
Mr Trump will reportedly have a lengthy telephone conversation with Mr Putin — who he has never met — and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday.
In a blow to the economic conservatives in his party, the new President sounded non-committal when asked by Hannity if he wanted to balance the US federal budget.
“I want a balanced budget eventually, but I want a stronger military. That’s very important to me.”
He added later: “We have to rebuild our country, we have to rebuild our infrastructure … our roads, our bridges, our schools. Our country is in bad shape.”
Add the border wall with Mexico to Trump’s expensive list of infrastructure projects. He derided the current border barriers as “little toy walls” and promised: “I’m talking about a real wall.”
In one of the more bizarre and rambling answers, Mr Trump criticised US media for downplaying the significance of a speech he gave at CIA headquarters the day after his inauguration.
“I gave the speech that really was a 10, relatively speaking,” he said.
“I had a standing ovation like you wouldn’t believe. Everybody. And it was such a success.
“The audience was standing ovation. They were standing from the beginning. They didn’t even sit down.”
Former CIA director John Brennan said Mr Trump “should be ashamed” for using the speech as a “display of self-aggrandisement”.
The interview followed a report in the Washington Post that Trump personally called Michael Reynolds, director of the National Park Service, to send him more photos of his Inauguration crowds to prove the media had not accurately reported attendance.
“I had the largest audience in the history of inaugurations,” he told Fox News. “They try and demean it so much. When you look at the pictures, when I looked out there was a sea of people.”
The big surprise: Trump plays coy
But in a sign he might be learning some diplomacy, Mr Trump played coy several times during the interview.
Hannity asked for details of the President’s meetings with intelligence officials, as well as his position on Saudi Arabia’s alleged funding of terrorism. Both times, Mr Trump said he preferred not to “go into it”.
On the briefings, he simply said it was “serious stuff”.
“When you see the kind of destruction that’s explained to you, you realise that getting along with people is a very good thing,” he said.
And on the Saudi government, the President replied: “I don’t want to tell you about that. I don’t like talking about how I feel about people because I don’t want to be put in that position.”