A Fox News anchor has berated Donald Trump’s chief of staff over the president’s attacks on the media, declaring “you don’t get to tell us what to do”.
Chris Wallace confronted Reince Priebus, a day after Mr Trump held a rally in Florida in which he launched another attack on the media
“Many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out on their lies,” Mr Trump said. “When the media lies to the people, I will never let them get away with it.”
Earlier in the week, Mr Trump had tweeted that the media was “the enemy of the American People”.
Mr Wallace asked the White House chief of staff to justify Mr Trump’s comments, suggesting that the president had “crossed a line”.
“He said that the fake media, not certain stories, the fake media are an enemy to the country. We don’t have a state-run media in this country. That’s what they have in dictatorships,” said Mr Wallace.
Mr Priebus said that “unsourced” stories about turmoil inside Mr Trump’s administration were “total garbage”.
“If you’re going to come out with a story that says Russian spies are talking to your campaign, my God,” he said. “I mean, I think you should in some cases, or in most cases, actually have a named source.”
Mr Wallace compared Mr Trump’s furious response to critical media coverage to that of Barack Obama.
“You don’t get to tell us what to do, Reince. You don’t get to tell us what to do any more than Barack Obama did,” said Mr Wallace said. “I’ve got to say he never said that we were an enemy of the people.”
Mr Priebus responded: “He said a lot of things about Fox News, Chris. I think you ought to go check the tape. He took plenty of shots.”
Mr Wallace said that Mr Obama had criticised Fox News with a number of shots and “we didn’t like them, and frankly we don’t like this either”.
“But he never went as far as President Trump has, and that’s what’s concerning, because it seems like he crosses a line when he talks about – that we’re an enemy of the people,” he said. “That is concerning.”