Donald Trump has begun his presidency by referring to his critics as “the enemies”.
Any hope that he might ditch the divisive rhetoric of his election campaign appeared to have been dashed by Trump’s remarks as he arrived at the Freedom Ball to celebrate his inauguration as president.
Flanked by his wife Melania, the new president, whose angry tweets belittling opponents became a feature of his election campaign, asked a cheering crowd of supporters: “Should I keep the twitter going or not? Keep it going?”
As the crowd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Centre roared approval of him continuing to tweet, Trump said: “I think so, I think so.
“You know, the enemies keep saying, ‘oh, that’s terrible’, but, you know, it’s a way of bypassing dishonest media, right?”
Trump’s opponents were swift to pick up on the apparently sinister tone and what it might mean for critics of the Trump presidency. Some compared the remarks to those of the previous Republican president George W Bush, who had referred to Al Qaeda and the Taliban as “the enemy”, and suggested that Trump was now labelling his fellow Americans as enemies.
Trump repeatedly criticised the mainstream media on the campaign trail, and has continued to do so even after winning the election. During his first press conference as President-elect, at which he was questioned about a dossier full of unverified and disputed claims that Russia had compromising information about his activities, he refused to take questions from a CNN reporter whom he branded “fake news”.
After attending the Freedom Ball, Trump moved on to the Armed Services Ball at the National Building Museum, and again criticised the press.
Speaking to soldiers in Afghanistan via satellite link, he said: “I like them much better than I like the media. These are much nicer people, finer people.”
Trump, however, appears to be sparing some sections of the media from his vitriol.
In his first tweet of the day on Saturday, the President praised the right-wing TV channel Fox News for the “GREAT reviews” of his inauguration speech.
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