Trump Says "Fake News" Media Can "Cause War"

Donald Trump at Pennsylvania Rally - Getty - H 2018
Rick Loomis/Getty

The president reiterated his claim that "fake news" outlets are "the enemy of the people" and called journalists "very dangerous & sick" in some of his most inflammatory comments about the press.

President Donald Trump on Sunday morning amped up his attack on "fake news," reiterating his claim that such outlets are the "enemy of the people" and asserting that they can "cause war" and are "very dangerous and sick."

The president's tweet was part of a series of missives in which he also praised tariffs and condemned Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between his campaign and Russian officials, which Trump has repeatedly (and again on Sunday morning) called a "witch hunt."

Trump wrote, "The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!"

After a few tweets about tariffs, the president returned to the media, going after the reporting about his son Donald Trump Jr.'s Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, saying it was "totally legal" but he didn't know about it.

Trump's comments about the media were some of his most inflammatory remarks to date, coming after a week in which he'd launched multiple attacks on the press, including repeatedly condemning "fake news" media outlets for being the "enemy of the people" and calling them "disgusting" in a Pennsylvania rally on Thursday night.

The president's Sunday morning tweet came just hours after his appearance at yet another campaign rally, this time in Ohio.

There, Trump refrained from going after NBA superstar and beloved Ohio native LeBron James, with whom he had feuded on social media the night before, focusing instead on attacking Democrats, the media and other familiar targets.

Trump on Saturday night called the media "fake news" and said journalists "were terrible people."

At his Thursday rally appearance, the president repeatedly denounced the press.

"Whatever happened to the free press? Whatever happened to honest reporting?" Trump asked, pointing to media outlets at the back of the hall. "They don't report it. They only make up stories."

Those remarks came just hours after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say the press wasn't the enemy of the American people, instead rattling off what she claims were personal attacks by the media against her. CNN's Jim Acosta, who tried repeatedly to get Huckabee Sanders to break from her boss, walked out at the end of the briefing after she failed to do so.

Also Thursday, Trump's daughter Ivanka said in a panel appearance that she does not view the media as the "enemy of the people," which President Trump responded to, tweeting: "They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!"

Trump's rally comments typically receive enthusiastic cheers from supporters in attendance, despite the presence of reporters from various outlets also on the scene, something journalists covering the president have indicated creates a dangerous situation.

Trump's comments were a hot topic on the Sunday morning talk shows, with hosts pressing White House officials on the president's remarks.

Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace both asked their guests, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and national security advisor John Bolton, respectively, what wars the media has caused.

Neither official directly answered the question, but Conway did say, "I don't believe journalists are the enemy of the people. I think some journalists are enemy of the relevant and enemy of the news you can use."

She earlier tried to explain her boss' point as this: "We have some reporters — so this should not be a broad brush. I've said it before. His daughter said it last week — and I know he believes it's not all. That's why he said it really refers to those who aren't always telling the truth and are giving emotion over information, who are talking more about their egos than doing everyman interviews."

Conway added that she has more of an issue with the stories the media is not covering.

Bolton, meanwhile, defended Trump's opinion as indicative of a "typical," "adversarial relationship" between the White House and the media.

“That’s the president’s view based on the attacks that the media have made on him,” he said. “There have been other administrations that have been highly critical of the press as well.”

Read Trump's Sunday morning tweets, below.

Aug. 5, 2:01 p.m. This story has been updated with Kellyanne Conway and John Bolton's comments from Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday, respectively.