At a virtual town hall event put on by Fox News on Sunday night, President Donald Trump responded to a question from a supporter who urged him to find a new way to interact with the media. The supporter, a retired nurse named Carolyn Perkins, said the president would be better off abandoning “descriptive words that can be classified as bullying” and instead rely on the “wonderful attributes that make you our great leader.”
But in his response, Trump explained that he was facing a “hostile press the likes of which no president has ever seen,” and that he had little choice but to give as good as he gets.
“They say nobody got treated worse than Lincoln – I believe I am treated worse,” he said. “You see those press conferences. They come at me with questions that are disgraceful… their manner of presentation and their words. I feel if I was kind to them, I would be walked off the stage.
“They come at you with the most horrible horrendous biased questions,” Trump continued. “You see it. 94 to 95 percent of the press is hostile, and yet we have tremendous support. But the media might as well be in the Democrat party. I appreciate the question, and I very much appreciate the sentiment behind the question — but I’m standing up there and instead of asking me a normal question, the level of anger and hatred…”
Trump said that the media’s coverage of his coronavirus leadership and, indeed, his entire presidency, had been awash in hatred and bias.
“I look at them and say, ‘What is your problem?’ I think we have done more than any other president in the history of our country,” he said. “We rebuilt our military. We had the biggest tax cut in history… yet we have a very hostile press. Nobody has seen anything like this.”
It’s understandable why there are a certain number of Trump voters who are uncomfortable seeing him go into battle with the press day after day. Not everyone is constitutionally geared towards enjoying that sort of open hostility and antagonism from the chief executive. But the fact of that matter is that it has to be this way. Does Trump occasionally go too far? Sure, but that’s part of Trump’s style. He hits back twice as hard as they hit him. And if you can’t see the bias and loathing that drips from nearly every single question he gets in these press conferences, you’re being willfully blind. What should he do? Pretend like this is normal?
Steve Bannon characterized the press as “the opposition party.” Trump has called the perpetrators of fake news “the enemy of the people.” They are both absolutely right. Whatever respect Trump offers them, it’s more than they deserve.