Trump, speaking to an Evansville crowd, endorsed Braun, who is running against incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). But he kept circling back to disparaging journalists and the media. The president’s comments come amid his tweet storm against CNN and only hours after reports that a California man was arrested by the FBI for threatening to kill journalists at the Boston Globe.
“These are just dishonest, terrible people, I’m telling you that. Not all of them, honestly, not all of them. I’d say 85 percent,” Trump told the crowd.
Trump named The New York Times, CNN and NBC specifically in his complaints against the media.
He complained about a “female journalist,” likely Maggie Haberman, for reporting that he was allegedly unhappy with the “flat” crowd at a West Virginia rally last week. Trump also attacked Haberman a week before for her coverage of his former attorney Michael Cohen, calling Haberman a “Crooked H flunkie.”
Later in the rally, Trump aimed his ire at NBC and suggested it would be a good idea to fire the network chairman, Andy Lack. He then pointed to the cameras at the rally and accused the news outlets of turning off their cameras when media criticism began.
“They can’t get enough, but when I start screaming ‘fake news,’ you see those red lights go off for a little while,” Trump said. “You know, ‘Excuse me, we have technical difficulties,’ and then they go back.”
There’s no evidence to support Trump’s claims that networks turn off their cameras purposefully during rallies.
The Indiana crowd encouraged Trump’s comments, cheering at the president’s jabs at journalists. At one point Trump paused so the crowd could boo at his mention of CNN.
Trump’s attacks are a continuation of his tweets attacking CNN on Wednesday night and rolling into the next morning.
Trump took issue with a CNN story published in late July claiming the president knew in advance of his son Donald Jr.’s 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian surrogates. CNN’s report was based on anonymous sources who claimed to have heard the information from the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen, contradicting Trump’s previous denials of foreknowledge.
“The hatred and extreme bias of me by
@CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function,” Trump wrote in one tweet. “But actually, as I have always said, this has been going on for a long time. Little Jeff Z has done a terrible job, his ratings suck, & AT&T should fire him to save credibility!”
CNN responded to Trump on Twitter and stood by its coverage.
This hostile rhetoric from Trump continues even as journalists in America face physical threats to their safety. Five journalists were killed in a June 28 shooting at the Capital newsroom in Maryland.
Robert D. Chain, 68, was arrested Thursday after he called the Boston Globe newsroom repeatedly and threatened journalists’ lives. The California man called the Globe journalists the “enemy to the people,” a phrase favored by Trump, and said he would shoot a journalist in the head.
Chain allegedly admitted that his calls were a response to what he believed to be negative coverage of Trump.