Sanders Refuses to Say That the Press Is Not the Enemy of the People

The White House press secretary repeatedly declined to take issue with the president’s label.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a press briefing. Cheriss May/NurPhoto/ZUMA Press

Update: President Donald Trump clarified his stance in a tweet Thursday afternoon:

Original story: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly declined on Thursday to say that the press was not the enemy of the American people, after President Donald Trump gave the media that label on Sunday and his daughter Ivanka refuted it on Thursday.

Instead, Sanders listed the ways the media had wronged her and the administration, accusing reporters of making “personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger.” Sanders’ listed grievances included the April White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where comedian Michelle Wolfe compared her to Aunt Lydia, the anti-feminist villain of The Handmaid’s Tale.

“I think the president has made his position known,” Sanders told CNN’s Jim Acosta, who had asked her to say the press was not the enemy of the people after she ignored a similar question. “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.”

When Acosta pointed out her failure to answer the question, she responded that she speaks on behalf of Trump and that “he’s made his comments clear.”

Acosta tweeted that he walked out of the press briefing, which he called “shameful.” On CNN, Acosta said he felt badly that Sanders had been “yelled at at a restaurant in Virginia… and a comedian at the correspondent’s dinner said some unpleasant things about her.” But he added that Sanders should read and hear the things that are said to the press on a regular basis. At a Trump rally in Tampa on Tuesday, supporters of the president shouted at the press corps, chanting “CNN sucks” and flashing middle fingers at Acosta as he tried to speak on-air.

“It is un-American to come out here and call the press the enemy of the people,” Acosta said on air after the briefing. “It would be nice if we all lowered the temperature a little bit, but at the very least I think we should all be able to agree on one thing, and that is that the press is not the enemy of the people. Fellow Americans are not the enemy of fellow Americans.”

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.