Trump Says Journalists 'Should Be Free' from 'Fear of Being Violently Attacked' After Years of Demonizing the Press
After the devastating mass shooting at the local paper Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday, President Donald Trump finally called out the abominable attack on Friday afternoon following a series of tepid and half-hearted responses.
"Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job," he said at a White House event.
As many noted, Trump has frequently demonized and attacked the media. Just a few days earlier, Trump had reminded attendees at a campaign rally that he loves to call the press the "the enemy of the people."
And on June 13, he tweeted: "Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!"
The full details of the shooter's motivations have yet to be made clear, so it's not obvious whether Trump's rhetoric played into the attack at all. Nevertheless, any of his statements expressing concern about the shooting fall flat as long as fails to repudiate his aggressive attacks on journalism and the free press.
And while it was an improvement that Trump finally called out the shooting as an attack on journalists on Friday, he didn't take the further step that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took in defending the place of the press as a key component of democracy.
Instead, he cast the attack in terms of his aggressive and authoritarian approach to crime reduction in the United States, yet another sign of his anti-democratic tendencies.
"My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life," he said.