Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday offered a tepid rebuke of President Donald Trump’s frequent labeling of the press as the “enemy of the people,” claiming instead that “some journalists are enemy of the relevant.”
“I don’t believe journalists are the enemy of the people,” Conway said during an appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday. “I think some journalists are enemy of the relevant and enemy of the news you can use.”
Still, Conway defended Trump’s aggressive rhetoric toward the press.
“The president wants people to give information ― news they can use,” she said. “I gotta tell you, there are a large, a growing swath of reporters ... that are sitting in the press briefing room, who have contracts on cable TV, where they say things, and they say things on Twitter, that they would not get away with in print.”
Trump has frequently employed the anti-media phrase while accusing journalists of writing “fake news” stories in an attempt to undermine his presidency. Conway’s assessment of journalists Sunday marked a minor break from the White House’s defense of the phrase.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say the media is not “the enemy of the people” on Thursday after CNN’s Jim Acosta repeatedly pleaded with her to do so during a press briefing.
“The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in this administration,” Sanders said. “Certainly, we have a role to play, but the media has a role to play for the discourse in this country as well.”
Senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president, told Axios earlier Thursday that she did not believe the press is the “enemy of the people.”
Donald Trump later tweeted that his daughter was “correct” in her statement because he doesn’t feel the entire press is the “enemy of the people” ― but a “large percentage” is.
Trump continued to rage against the press in a series of tweets Sunday, in which he admitted the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 was meant to gather dirt on his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.