White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered an outright lie to reporters Friday, claiming President Donald Trump has never promoted violence toward the media.
“I certainly don’t think that the president at any point has done anything but condemn violence against journalists or anyone else,” she said. “The president is typically one of the first people to condemn the violence, and the media is the first people to blame the president.”
Sanders was responding to a question about whether Trump would tone down his anti-press rhetoric after last week’s arrest of Christopher Hasson, a Coast Guard lieutenant who federal prosecutors say had a list of prominent Democrats and journalists he wanted to kill. Hasson reportedly stockpiled weapons and had reporters from CNN and MSNBC on his list.
Despite the press secretary’s claims, Trump has relentlessly attacked the media.
On Wednesday he again launched his “enemy of the people” smear against The New York Times and was rebuked by publisher A.G. Sulzberger, who warned it “is encouraging threats and violence against journalists at home and abroad.”
Last October, Trump joked at a rally about Rep. Greg Gianforte’s (R-Mont.) assault of a Guardian journalist, “Any guy who can do a body slam, he’s my kind of — he’s my guy.”
In July 2017, Trump tweeted a doctored video intended to make it appear as if he were punching CNN. The post remains on his Twitter page.
Though there are plenty of examples to refute Sanders’ narrative of a press-defending president, she was resolute in her claim Friday that “we have been consistent and repeatedly said that we condemn violence in all forms.”
“We should all join together and start condemning the violence, whether it’s against members of the media, whether it’s against Democrats, Republicans, any person in this country,” she said.