Less than a week after a BBC television cameraman was physically assaulted during a Donald Trump campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, by a Trump supporter sporting a red “Make America Great Again” cap, as Inquisitr reported, Trump again stepped up his own rhetorical attack on the media.
For the 24th time, per the Trump Twitter Archive, since first using the phrase on February 17, 2017 — less than one month after his inauguration — Trump slammed the media on his Twitter account as the “enemy of the people.”
“THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” Trump wrote on Twitter, in the single-sentence, all-capitalized post.
In an interview with the political news site Axios last year, Trump attempted to explain his repeated use of the inflammatory phrase, telling the site, “It’s my only form of fighting back,” and later adding, “I think I’m doing a service,” by attacking the news media.
The phrase “enemy of the people” is believed, according to Axios, to have first been used in politics by Josef Stalin, autocratic ruler of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952. In his “show trials” of political dissidents, Stalin often branded them “enemies of the people” to supposedly justify convicting and ultimately executing them.
Trump has used the phrase frequently on Twitter, to attack the news media which he perceives as attacking him. A sample of Trump’s “enemy of the people” tweets appears in the compilation below.
As Donald Trump denounces attack on a BBC cameraman at one of his rallies, experts wonder what could possibly have caused it. pic.twitter.com/2v8QOkHnwm— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) February 13, 2019
Trump’s Sunday tweet, posted at about 9 a.m. Eastern Time, was not the first time that Trump has used the phrase “enemy of the people” to attack the media, coinciding with incidents of violence or potential violence against members of the media that may be inspired by his rhetoric. Last October 29, the same day that the FBI discovered a mail bomb sent to a CNN office in Atlanta, per Vox.com, Trump posted a Twitter message calling the news media “the true Enemy of the People.”
Trump supporter 'violently attacks' BBC cameraman at rally after US president whips up anger over media pic.twitter.com/7y5Ycn9zfr— indy100 (@indy100) February 13, 2019
As Mother Jones has documented, other acts and threats of violence against media members and organizations have appeared to be inspired by Trump’s “enemy of the people” rhetoric. Last August, according to an FBI affidavit posted online by Politico, an anonymous male caller phoned the Boston Globe, saying, “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every f*****g one of you.”
CNN reporter Jim Acosta last July posted a video on Twitter of Trump supporters surrounding and taunting him and his camera crew at a Trump rally.
“I do think it’s dangerous for the president to walk this line of basically inciting violence,” one law enforcement agent told Mother Jones. “Most people won’t act on it, but sooner or later, someone will — a person who can’t distinguish from the political message. We’ve been seeing some prospects of this. People could get injured or killed.”