Sarah Sanders refuses to say press is not 'enemy of the people' at White House briefing

President later says fake news - 'which is a large percentage of the media' - is the enemy

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 02 August 2018 15:14
Comments
White House press secretary Sarah Huckerbee Sanders refuses to say press are not 'enemy of the people'

The White House has refused to say the “press is not the enemy of the people”, as relations between the Trump administration and parts of the media continue to sour.

A day after the president retweeted a video showing supporters at one of his rallies booing a CNN reporter and chanting “fake news”, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was challenged several times to say she did not believe the media was an enemy of the American public. She declined to do so, instead reeling off a list of grievances against the press, accusing it of insulting her personally and saying she was the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection.

Later, Mr Trump weighed in on the issue in a manner that confused matters. In a tweet, he said Ivanka Trump had been correct when she said the media was not an enemy, but added: "It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!"

Ms Sanders had made her remarks to Jim Acosta, a CNN reporter who was heckled at one of Mr Trump’s recent rallies in Tampa, Florida. She said to him: “It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country.”

Ms Sanders accused the media of attacking her and said she had been insulted at the White House Correspondents Association dinner earlier this year.

“You brought a comedian up to attack my appearance and called me a traitor to my own gender,” she said.

Sarah Sanders asked about QAnon during White House Press Briefing

Mr Acosta said: “We all get put through the ringer, we all get put through the meat-grinder in this town, and you’re no exception and I’m sorry that happened to you. I wish that had not happened.

“But for the sake of this room, the people that are in this room, this democracy, this country….the president of the united states should not refer to us as the enemy people. His own daughter acknowledges that, and I’ll I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.”

Earlier on Monday, Mr Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, a senior White House advisor, had been asked if she felt the media was an enemy of the public. “No, I do not,” she responded. It was that remark, the preident subsequently picked up on.

Ms Sanders said she understood and shared Mr Acosta’s passion, but declined to contradict Mr Trump, who has described the media as “scum”.

“I’ve addressed this question, I’ve addressed my personal feelings I’m here to speak on behalf of the president,’ she said. “He’s made his comments clear.”

The exchange between Mr Acosta, a frequent target of Mr Trump’s anger and who walked out of Thursday’s press briefing in protest, came as the UN said the US president’s verbal attacks on the media ran the risk of triggering real violence against journalists.

Reuters said the UN rapporteur for freedom of expression, David Kaye, claimed in a joint statement with Edison Lanza of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, that Mr Trump’s tirades against the media violated the basic standards of press freedom.

“These attacks run counter to the country’s obligations to respect press freedom and international human rights law,” they said.

“We are especially concerned that these attacks increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in