President Trump‘s criticism of the media should be taken “seriously,” says White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.
In an interview set to air Sunday morning on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host John Dickerson asked Priebus about Trump’s recent tweet calling the press the enemy of the American people. Specifically, Trump tweeted Friday evening: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
“Should we take that seriously from him?”, Dickerson asked.
“Well, I think you should take it seriously,” Priebus replied, before echoing his boss in accusing various outlets for publishing inaccurate stories on intelligence leaks.
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“I think that the problem we’ve got is that we’re talking about bogus stories like the one in the New York Times, that we’ve had constant contact with Russian officials,” Priebus said. The next day, the Wall Street Journal had a story that the intel community was not giving the president a full intelligence briefing. Both stories grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown, and it’s total garbage.
“So we spend, you know, 48 hours on bogus stories,” he continued. “And the American people suffer. So I do think it’s a problem. And I think that the media needs to, in some cases, not every case, John, but in some cases really needs to get its act together.”
Dickerson pressed him on whether that does mean the press is the “enemy,” as Trump suggested.
“Well, if you’re not — if the theory is that the press is supposed to be a free forum of information to speak to the American people, I think it ought to be accurate,” Priebus said. “And I think we’ve gotten to a place, John, where the media is willing to run with unnamed sources, apparently false leaked documents to create stories. I mean, we deal with one after the next. I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff, put names on a piece of paper and print it. If people aren’t willing to put their name next to a quote, then the quote shouldn’t be listed. Period.”
Later in the interview Priebus defended former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn for communicating with a Russian envoy about sanctions before the election.
“There was nothing wrong with talking to the foreign — the Russian ambassador — about the current sanctions that were being put in place by the Obama administration,” he said.
Flynn resigned Monday amid fallout resulting from reports that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia, and reportedly may have been susceptible to blackmail.
This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner