White House Offers 'Thoughts and Prayers' to Newsroom Under Attack - Just Days After Trump Called Journalists the 'Enemy of the People'
As news was breaking that a Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, was under attack Thursday and multiple people were reported dead, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters issued a statement of solidarity.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected," she said.
And yet the statement rung hollow, given President Donald Trump's relentless demonization of the media and his clear attempts to stoke distrust of and anger at reporters like those at the Gazette.
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 Trump-supporting right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannoulos has taken this a step further, telling the Observer this week: “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.”
It's unclear what the Annapolis shooter's motives are yet, and they may have nothing to do with Trump or his politics. But the statements of concern from the White House are patently hypocritical in the face of Trump's complete disregard for the free press and his use of inflammatory rhetoric.
And since a sitting GOP congressman has admitted to assaulting a reporter, slandering him, and lying about the incident to win an election, the party's standing to defend the press is irreparably damaged.