White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that President Donald Trump will “continue to fight back” against people who speak out against him, even after a number of his high-profile critics were the intended targets of explosive devices last week.
At her first press conference since early this month, reporters pressed Sanders to speak about the connection some people have made between the president vilifying the media and his political opponents and a Trump supporter attempting to mail bombs to several of his targets.
“The president’s going to continue to draw contrast,” Sanders said when a reporter asked if Trump would cease calling out Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) during his rallies, or stop using nicknames like “crooked Hillary Clinton” and encouraging “lock her up” chants in reference to the former secretary of state. Clinton and Waters were among the intended recipients of last week’s bomb attempts.
“Let’s not forget that these same Democrats have repeatedly attacked the president, whether it was Eric Holder saying ‘Kick ‘em when they’re down,’ whether it was Hillary Clinton saying, ‘You can’t be civil until Democrats have control of Congress,’ or whether it was Maxine Waters who encouraged her supporters to get up not just in the president’s face, but all administration officials’ faces,” Sanders said.
“Those actions from those Democrats, the president’s going to continue to fight back when these individuals not only attack him but attack member of his administration and supporters of his administration,” she added.
Minutes later, a CNN reporter asked Sanders whether she thinks Trump’s regular use of the term “enemy of the American people” to describe the media should be reserved for actual enemies of the U.S. in light of CNN ― Trump’s favorite media target ― receiving bombs in the mail, too.
“The president’s not referencing all media,” she said. “He’s talking about the growing amount of fake news that exists in the country, and the president’s calling that out.”
She sidestepped follow-up questions as to whether Trump considered CNN to be part of “The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People,” as he tweeted earlier on Monday.