After Trump Threat, Sarah Huckabee Sanders Says White House Is "Very Committed" to Free Press

Sarah Huckabee Sanders - July 21, 2017 -Getty-H 2017
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On Wednesday morning, Trump suggested pulling the credentials of reporters who cover him.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday afternoon that the Trump White House is "very committed to a free press," just hours after her boss proposed taking away credentials of the "fake news" media that covers him.

"The Fake News is working overtime," Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. "Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?"

Asked about the tweet during her afternoon press briefing, Sanders, argued that the White House is accessible, as evidenced by her regular briefings and Trump's willingness to answer questions from pool reporters.

"We're very committed to a free press, and I think that we demonstrate that every single day," she said. "We're here, we are taking questions, we're doing everything we can to provide regular and constant information to the American people."

But, as Sanders has told the White House press corps many times before, she added, "At the same time, the press has a responsibility to put out accurate information."

Trump's earlier tweet predictably drew the derision of the news media. "Silencing the media as a way to stop questions about matters of national security? at least he posed it as a question..." CNN anchor Chris Cuomo wrote on Twitter. CNN's Jake Tapper pointed out that the statistic in Trump's tweet about news coverage comes from the conservative media watchdog Media Research Center.

The White House Correspondents' Association put out a strong — by the organization's standards — statement in response to Trump's tweet.

"Some may excuse the president's inflammatory rhetoric about the media, but just because the president does not like news coverage does not make it fake," WHCA president and Bloomberg News correspondent Margaret Talev said. "A free press must be able to report on the good, the bad, the momentous and the mundane, without fear or favor. And a president preventing a free and independent press from covering the workings of our republic would be an unconscionable assault on the First Amendment."

The Trump White House's relationship with the press returned to the spotlight on April 28 when comedian Michelle Wolf mocked Sanders during her set. 

Despite the acrimony between the White House and the press, Sanders told White House reporters on Wednesday, "We are going to continue to try to work with you."