‘Enemy of the people’: Sanders refuses to disavow Trump’s claim about media | US news | The Guardian

‘Enemy of the people’: Sanders refuses to disavow Trump’s claim about media | US news | The Guardian

Press secretary would not give her view about the media in a heated exchange with CNN journalist Jim Acosta

Press secretary would not give her view about the media in a heated exchange with CNN journalist Jim Acosta

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has refused to back away from US president Donald Trump’s assertions that the media is the “enemy” of the American people.

In a heated exchange with reporters during a White House briefing, Sanders said Trump “has made his position known”. She repeatedly declined to give her own opinion on the subject, despite being pressed by reporters to state categorically that she did not agree that the press are the enemy.

Instead, Sanders recited a litany of complaints against the press and blamed the media for inflaming tensions in the country.

“As far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required secret service protection,” she said, accusing the media of continuing “to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in this administration.”

Jim Acosta (@Acosta)

Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R

August 1, 2018

CNN’s Jim Acosta, who has become a lightning rod for anti-media sentiment and was loudly heckled during a Trump rally in Florida on Tuesday night, implored Sanders to break from the president, who first decried the press as the “enemy of the American people” last year.

“I think it would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now … are not the enemy of the people,” Acosta said, adding: “All the people around the world are watching what you’re saying.”

Sanders, appearing to read from prepared remarks, responded with a critique of the press for resorting “to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger.”

“The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions, including your own network, CNN,” she told Acosta. She also cited the comedian who performed at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, saying the comic was brought in “to attack my appearance and call me a traitor to my own gender.”

When pushed by Acosta to state that she did not share the president’s view that the press were the enemy of the people and he should not refer to them as such, she said: “I appreciate your passion, I share it. I’ve addressed this question, I’ve addressed my personal feelings, I’m here to speak on behalf of the president, he’s made his comments clear.”

Jim Acosta (@Acosta)

I walked out of the end of that briefing because I am totally saddened by what just happened. Sarah Sanders was repeatedly given a chance to say the press is not the enemy and she wouldn’t do it. Shameful.

August 2, 2018

Acosta walked out of the briefing in protest and later tweeted he had done so because he was “totally saddened by what just happened”, calling Sanders’ refusal to say that the press was not the enemy “shameful”. Another reporter quickly filled his seat.

Other reporters later shared their disappointment at Sanders’ response. Chuck Todd, NBC News’ political director tweeted that her response “only hurts her own credibility”.

Chuck Todd (@chucktodd)

An extraordinarily disappointing moment by @PressSec just now… Her inability to acknowledge the role POTUS has played in all of this media bashing only hurts her own credibility…She had a chance to defend the institution and take the high ground and show leadership, instead..

August 2, 2018

The exchange came hours after the president’s eldest daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, broke with her father at an event hosted by Axios, and said that she does not view the news media as “the enemy of the people.”

“I’ve certainly received my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate. So … I have some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripe, especially when they sort of feel targeted. But no, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people,” Ivanka Trump said.

The president tried to minimise the divide in a tweet later Thursday, saying she was “correct” to say the media was not the enemy of the people, clarifying it is “the fake news, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people”.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!

August 2, 2018

The president regularly lashes out at news outlets and individual reporters, accusing them of spreading “fake news” his term for stories he dislikes.

The tensions have been especially acute at Trump’s rallies, where his supporters often jeer at, curse and harass reporters working in a closed-off media pen.

A Politico reporter responded to one such scene at Tuesday’s rally in Florida with tweets calling the hecklers “garbage people” with missing teeth.

Marc Caputo, who covers Florida, deleted his tweets and apologised Wednesday for his “caustic remarks.”

“In the age of social media, where divisiveness serves no decent purpose, these flippant comments on my part only made things worse and contributed to a cycle of rage that I should not have inflamed further. So I’m sorry,” he wrote.

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