Donald Trump has slammed the press as “fake, fake disgusting news” during a rally in Pennsylvania Thursday, zeroing in on his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
The rally was in support of Republican Lou Barletta’s campaign for senate, whose competitor, Democratic candidate, Bob Casey, was referred to by Trump as “so overrated,” Fox News reports.
“[The press] wanted me to walk up and having a boxing match,” Trump said at the rally according to Huffington Post.
He added, “What ever happened to diplomacy? Let me tell you, if I did go up and start screaming – they would have said, ‘He was terrible. He was so rude. His performance was horrible.”
“Whatever happened to the free press?” He continued. “Whatever happened to honest reporting? They don’t report it. They only make up stories.”
The largely conservative crowd reportedly responded by yelling “CNN sucks.”
Politico reports that Trump’s hopes for re-election in 2020, as well as his popularity in Pennsylvania are waning. He won by just 1.2 percentage points when he was elected in 2016 and has returned to Pennsylvania six times since to garner support.
Trump has referred to journalists as “the enemy of the people” in the past and was recently confronted by the New York Times over his inflammatory comments. Inquisitr previously reported that publisher A.G. Sulzberger recently met with the president to discuss his anti-journalism rants.
Trump went on Twitter after the meeting, calling it “good” and “interesting,” but still nothing that there are vast amounts of “fake news.” Most presidents and public figures have sit-downs with the NY Times over their media presence, but Sulzberger did mention his concerns over Trump’s “anti-press rhetoric” and “increasingly dangerous” language on Twitter in a statement.
Sulzberger claims that some regimes could use Trump’s comments to “justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists” and the president could be “putting lives at risk” with his Twitter rants.
The White House also recently came under fire for banning CNN journalist Kaitlan Collins from an open press event at the Rose Garden. Their reasoning was that she had “shouted questions” at Trump during a photo-op in the Oval Office.
Collins claims that she was told her questions were “inappropriate” by Bill Shine, a former executive at Fox News who was recently brought on as deputy chief of staff.
Even Fox stood in “strong solidarity” with Collins after the incident and said that journalists should have full access so that the U.S. maintains “a free and unfettered press.”