In an interview that aired on Sunday, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace grilled President Trump for his attacks on the news media, telling President Trump that he is “seen around the world as a beacon for repression”, according to USA Today. Wallace told President Trump that while many other presidents have expressed frustration with the news media, none of them has gone as far as President Trump, who called the press “an enemy of the American people.”
“Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time but he never said we were the enemy of the people,” Wallace said.
President Trump attempted to qualify his statements, noting that he does not believe that all media outlets are “the enemy,” just the ones he believes promote “fake news.”
“But a lot of times, sir, it’s just news you don’t like,” Wallace replied. “Leaders in authoritarian countries like Russia, China, Venezuela, now repress the media using your words.”
“I can’t talk for other people, I can only talk for me,” Trump said.
“But you’re seen around the world as a beacon for repression,” Wallace retorted.
President Trump again tried to defend his statements, saying that his remarks were only intended for media outlets and coverage that President Trump believes promote false and unfair information. Wallace remained unconvinced, responding that the President doesn’t get to determine what is fair and what is unfair.
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“I can tell what’s fair and not and so can my people and so can a lot of other people,” Trump replied.
Wallace conceded that he believes some of the news coverage of President Trump is biased, but refused to allow President Trump’s personal biases to dictate what is “fake news” and what is not.
“I’m not calling you that,” President Trump protested.
“We’re all together,” Wallace told the president, explaining it didn’t matter if he was referring to CNN, the New York Times or Fox News. “We’re in solidarity, sir.”
Fox News joined other news outlets in filing briefs supporting the return of CNN’s Jim Acosta’s White House press credentials. Trump dismissed the judge’s ruling that Acosta’s credentials be reinstated, saying “it’s not a big deal.” President Trump said the White House is devising a list of clear rules of etiquette for press conferences. “And if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference,” Trump said. President Trump also floated the possibility that news conferences could be held off-camera in the future.
Wallace asked President Trump about the criticism he received from retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, who called the President’s attacks on the press as “perhaps the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.” President Trump dismissed Admiral McRaven altogether, calling McRaven a “Hillary Clinton fan” and an “Obama backer.”