Tuesday 20 November 2018

Trump: Media is the true enemy of the people

The US president spoke following a mass shooting and a mail bomb plot that rocked the nation.

Donald Trump (AP)
Donald Trump (AP)

By Catherine Lucey

US president Donald Trump has accused the media of being “the true Enemy of People” in the wake of a mass shooting and a mail bomb plot.

Mr Trump tweeted: “There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news.”

He added that the media “must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly”.

The president’s comments follow a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue and a mail bomb scare targeting senior Democrats and CNN.

The election season violence has rattled a divided nation and prompted questions about whether Mr Trump should tone down his rhetoric.

The US president condemned the Pittsburgh attack as an act of anti-Semitism and has denounced political violence.

However, with eight days to go before the US mid-term elections, he has continued to hold his political rallies, complete with harsh criticism of Democrats and the media.

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Donald Trump addresses a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro (AP)

On Saturday night in a rally in Southern Illinois, Mr Trump was somewhat muted, but still offered his standard campaign attack lines, including citing Hillary Clinton and representative Maxine Waters, both of whom were targeted in the bomb plot.

On Sunday, he savaged billionaire businessman Tom Steyer on Twitter, another target of the mail bombs.

The man arrested in connection with the mail bomb plot, Cesar Sayoc, was a fervent Trump supporter.

The White House has rejected suggestions Mr Trump should change course. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on CNN that Mr Trump was “trying to heal the country”.

Asked about Mr Trump’s comments since the Pittsburgh massacre, she pointed to Ms Waters’ and Mr Steyer’s criticism of the president and went on to say Mr Trump was seeking unity.

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Mr Trump denounced the synagogue shooting as an anti-Semitic attack (AP)

“The president’s not trying to reach his base by denouncing anti-Semitism and asking everybody to rise above hate, he’s being the president of all Americans,” Ms Conway said.

Mr Trump has said he will travel to Pittsburgh, but the White House has not offered any details on his plans. He contended on Saturday that it was important to keep going with his political rallies, arguing that to do otherwise would be to let “evil” win. He is planning an aggressive campaign schedule during the final days leading up to the November 6 elections.

Throughout his campaign and presidency, Mr Trump has been an unrelenting critic of the media. Last week, the New York offices of CNN, the cable network frequently attacked by Mr Trump and his supporters, was evacuated after receiving an explosive device and an envelope containing white powder.

While stopping short of blaming Mr Trump’s rhetoric for inspiring the attacks, Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, contended there was a “total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media”.

Press Association

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