By Abby Vesoulis
April 25, 2019

President Donald Trump spent some time chatting with kids who were at the White House for “Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day” on Thursday — and used the opportunity to give the media a lot more credit than usual.

Children of the White House press corps had a chance to get up close and personal with the President, and hear his thoughts on the moms and dads who cover him daily.

“It’s a very special day,” Trump said from the South Lawn of the White House. “I even love the media today. I see these beautiful children, products of the media, and I actually like you much more than your parents.”

Trump then went on to compliment the media after his quip, and briefly explained the role White House reporters play in society.

“They let you know how we’re doing and often times they report correctly,” Trump said. “Actually, most of the time.”

His words directed at the media were noticeably kinder than they have been in recent weeks, especially since a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election was made public.

“The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to stir up and anger the pols and as many people as possible seldom mentioning the fact that the Mueller Report had as its principle conclusion the fact that there was NO COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA. The Russia Hoax is dead!” he wrote on April 20.

Trump also told the children about some of the positive things that have occurred under his leadership.

“Our country is doing very well,” he said. “Our economy is at a level that perhaps it’s never been at and all over the world they’re talking about our great country and how well we’re doing.”

He then provided them with some words of advice before wrapping up.

“Never take drugs, don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke, enjoy your life. You don’t need it. It causes a lot of problems. If you learn one thing. I didn’t come up here to say that, but I say it all the time to my kids,” he said.

In Oct. 2017, Trump opened up about his older brother, Fred Trump Jr., in a speech in which he declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. His brother died in 1981 after a long battle with alcoholism, and the President said at the event that he’s never had a cigarette and never drinks alcohol because of his brother’s advice to steer clear.

Before Trump took some time with the children on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders provided an off-the-record “kids-only” press briefing in the morning.

Parents of these children haven’t had the same opportunity in 45 days, when Sanders last briefed the press on March 11.

Write to Abby Vesoulis at abby.vesoulis@time.com.

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