Trump accuses reporter of 'creating violence' with question as president says troops will not shoot migrants

President was asked about his divisive rhetoric

Andrew Buncombe
Washington DC
Friday 02 November 2018 20:25 GMT
President Trump says a lot of reporters 'are creating violence by not writing the truth'

Donald Trump has accused the media of creating violence with their questions, as he was asked whether his rhetoric was exacerbating tensions in the country.

Saying it was no longer his plan for US troops to shoot stone-throwing Central American migrants – a threat he had made a day earlier – the president claimed if the media reported more “fairly” on him, there would be fewer incidents of violence.

Referring to a ABC News/Washington Post poll that suggested half of registered voters believed the president was encouraging politically motivated violence by his language, a journalist asked the president about the report.

“You’re creating violence by your question,” the president responded, pointing at the reporter with his finger. “The fake news is creating violence.”

The president make his remarks as he left the White House for campaign rallies in West Virginia and Indiana. They came after anxious weeks in which the US has been stunned by the shooting dead of 11 people people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the killing of two African Americans in a grocery store, and the revelation that an ardent supporter of the president had been detained for allegedly mailing pipe bombs to critics of the president.

Opponents of Mr Trump have said his language, especially the tone and rhetoric he has used towards migrants and would-be immigrants, has helped create an atmosphere in which political violence is more likely to take place.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll that while more than half of registered voters believed Mr Trump was helping create violence, just 20 per cent believed he was acting to discourage it. Around 15 per cent believed the media was creating violence.

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Mr Trump on Friday reversed his threat to have US troops shoot stone-throwing migrants.

“They won’t have to fire. What I don’t want is I don’t want these people throwing rocks,” Mr Trump told reporters outside the White House.

“If they do that with us, they’re going to be arrested for a long time.”

Mr Trump has hardened his stance on immigration, and specifically against the caravan of migrants, ahead of next week’s congressional elections, in which his Republican Party seeks to maintain control of both chambers.

On Monday, the Pentagon said it had deployed more than 5,200 troops to the border after Mr Trump said on Twitter he was sending the military to face off against the migrant caravan, a group of men, women and children travelling through Mexico as they flee violence and poverty in Central America.

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