Dan Rather has condemned Donald Trump for lashing out at the media after journalists discovered the presumed GOP nominee had failed to deliver on a charitable donation.
In January, Trump made big noise of the claim that he had raised $6 million for a series of veterans’ organizations – including $1 million of his own money. Yet Trump’s claim ultimately turned out to be untrue.
The reality TV star had apparently neglected to donate that money to any charity whatsoever until reporters at The Washington Post hit Trump with some tough questions last week. The funds were conveniently transferred on the same day that journalists began pestering Trump over the donation.
On Tuesday, Trump hit back at the reporters for calling his bluff.
He spent the better half of a boisterous, 40-minute press conference battering journalists. Trump picked out several names, but he then went on to attack the media in general – arguing the press should be “ashamed” for nagging him about donating to charity.
Instead, Trump claimed, reporters should be thanking him.
“The press should be ashamed of itself,” Trump said. “You make me look bad.”
Those claims didn’t sit well with Dan Rather.
On Wednesday, the media titan lashed out at the presumed Republican nominee for his “vicious” outburst.
“I felt a shudder down my spine yesterday watching Donald Trump’s fusilade against the press,” the former CBS anchor wrote on Facebook. “This is not a moment to be trifled with. It wasn’t his first tirade and it won’t be his last.”
Rather then went on to lambaste this year’s presidential contest more widely, and predicted there would be “violence” if Trump were allowed to continue with his vitriolic speech.
“I know what it is like to sit in those seats and feel the scorn and even wrath of politicians of all political persuasions,” Rather said. “But Trump’s brand of vituperation is particularly personal and vicious. It carries with it the drumbeats of threatening violence. It cannot be left unanswered.”
According to Rather, Trump’s repeated attacks on investigative journalism undermine the U.S. Constitution.
“This is not about politics or policy,” Rather said. “It’s about protecting our most cherished principles. The relationship between the press and the powerful they cover is by its very definition confrontational. That is how the Founding Fathers envisioned it, with noble clauses of protection enshrined in our Constitution.”
Bearing that in mind, Rather added that it was up to media owners to defend their reporters in order to ensure that “political figures” like Donald Trump were being held to account.
“I still believe the pen is mightier than the sword,” he said. “And in these conflicted and troubled times, we should reward the bravery of the men and women not afraid to ask the hard questions of everyone in power. Our nation’s future depends on it.”
Along with Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings, Dan Rather was one of the “Big Three” new anchors that dominated American television sets across the 1980s and 1990s. Rather has received numerous Emmy Awards over the span of his career, several Peabody Awards, and multiple honorary degrees from colleges and universities.
This isn’t the first time Rather has crossed swords with Trump, either.
Appearing on CNN in March, Rather accused Trump of inciting violence – claiming the real estate mogul’s “inflammatory language” could erupt into something sinister.
“I’m not picking on Trump, but this is something unprecedented,” Rather told host Don Lemon. “I covered the civil rights movement, a lot of the anti-war movement in the sixties, and I know first-hand what inflammatory language in a very tense situation can quickly erupt into violence, and we should all of us, every party, all Americans, be very careful about tempting that again.”
[Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]