‘Take Trump seriously when he calls press the enemy’

Washington, Feb 19 (IANS) Reince Priebus, the White House Chief of Staff, advised Americans to take Donald Trumps attacks on the media “seriously”, following the Presidents denunciations of the press as the “enemy”.

“There’s been a debate about when to take the President seriously,” Priebus told CBS News in an interview on Saturday.

“He recently tweeted that the press was the enemy of the American people. Should we take that seriously from him?” the interviewer asked.

“Well, I think you should take it seriously,” Priebus replied.

“I think that the problem we’ve got is that we’re talking about bogus stories like the one in the New York Times, that we’ve had constant contact with Russian officials. The next day, the Wall Street Journal had a story that the intel community was not giving the President a full intelligence briefing. Both stories grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown, and it’s total garbage.”

The Chief of Staff continued to hammer the press for its coverage, saying “the American people suffer” because of it.

“I do think it’s a problem,” Priebus said, adding “…In some cases the media really needs to get its act together.”

Trump often dismisses news organisations as “dishonest media” and on Friday called “fake news” media the “enemy of the American People”.

Trump frequently refers to news stories he deems unfavourable as “fake news”, reports The Hill magazine.

Trump’s animosity toward the press came to a head on Thursday during a freewheeling news conference, where he railed against journalists for covering his administration critically and dismissed questions about his ties to Russia and the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the US.

Trump also defended former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, calling him “a wonderful man” who was treated “very, very unfairly by the media”.

Flynn was asked to resign on Monday amid revelations that he discussed sanctions with Russia’s Ambassador and lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of those conversations.

–IANS

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