WH Journalists Spend Ugly Briefing Battling Sanders, Blaming Trump for Bomber, Shooter

The White House held a rare press briefing on Monday and so many in the liberal media used the occasion to falsely assert to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that they’re not blaming the President and/or his supporters for the mail bomber or the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter when they’ve been doing just that.

Monday’s briefing featured many of the familiar faces who readers and viewers have come to expect to make a scene under the guise of accountability and thirst for the truth.

 

 

ABC’s Jonathan Karl led off, asking Sanders if President Trump has “any concern at all that his words could inspire or provoke troubled people to do awful things.” Sorry, but as this thread proved, the notion that the media aren’t blaming the President is false.

He followed up with this doozy:

But he's also harshly attacked some of the very people that received those pipe bombs, and this morning suggesting that the news media is responsible for anger in the country. How does he do that when, in the case of pipe bomber, this was somebody who went to Trump rallies, and this is somebody who had a van covered with attacks on the media and praise for the President on the shooter in Pittsburgh is somebody who was provoked, it seems, by the caravan the President has spent so much time talking about. Why is he out there making attacks? 

Sanders fired back that “the very first thing that the President did was condemn the attacks both in Pittsburgh and the pipe bombs” whereas “[t]he very first thing the media did was blame the President and make him responsible for these ridiculous acts.” 

Karl tried to interrupt, but Sanders hit back that she’s “not finished” because she had to explain nice and clearly to these opposition journalists that “[t]he only person responsible for carrying out either of these heinous acts were the individuals who carried them out.”

Citing the shooting of congressional Republicans, Sanders schooled Karl (click “expand”):

SANDERS: It's not the President, no more than it was Bernie Sanders' fault for the individual who shot up a baseball field of congressional Republicans. You can't start putting the responsibility of individuals on anybody but the individual who carries out the crime. Steve? 

KARL: But why is the President suggesting it's the news media? The President is the one placing blame here. Just this morning —

SANDERS: No, the President is not placing blame. The President is not responsible for these acts. Again, the very first action that the president did was condemn these heinous acts. The very first thing that the media did was condemn the President and go after him and place blame on not just the President, but everyone who works in this administration. The major news network's first major statement was to blame the president and myself included. I mean, that is outrageous that anybody other than the individual who carried out the crime would hold that responsibility.

Moments later, the Associated Press’s Jill Colvin fretted that, since the mail bombs, “the President has called out Maxine Waters by name at his rallies, he's stood there as his supporters chant ‘lock her up’ in reference to Hillary Clinton, and he continues to call her crooked Hillary Clinton.” 

So with that, Colvin demanded that Trump “stop using that kind of language in light of the fact that these individuals were targeted in this attack?”

Sander refused to fold, citing uncivil or violent rhetoric by the left as why the President will continue to call out this behavior.

Chief liberal media Avenger Jim Acosta eventually got a turn, first citing a tweet from a former John Kelly aide to then wonder if Trump “[s]houldn’t....reserve the term ‘enemy’ for people who are actually the enemy of the United States, rather than journalists?”

Sanders replied that the President was “talking about the growing amount of fake news that exists in the country” and so the CNN carnival barker engaged in some would call mansplaining (click “expand”):

ACOSTA: Since you mentioned that, the President said this morning: “The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly.” Could you state for the record which outlets that you and the President regard as the enemy of the people? 

SANDERS: I'm not going to walk through a list, but I think those individuals probably know who they are. 

ACOSTA: Would that include — would that include my outlet, which received bombs last week? 

SANDERS: I don't think it's necessarily specific to a general — broad generalization of a full outlet at times. I think there's individuals that the President would be referencing. Jordan? 

ACOSTA: So you're not going to state — so you’re not going to state for the record, then — I mean, if the President is going to say the fake news media are the enemy of the people and if you’re going to stand there and continue to say that there are some journalists, some news outlets in this country that meet that characterization, shouldn't you have the guts, Sarah, to state which outlets, which journalists are the enemy of the people? 

SANDERS: I think it's irresponsible of a news organization like yours to blame responsibility of a pipe bomb that was not sent by the President, not just blame the President, but blame members of his administration for those heinous acts. I think that is outrageous and I think it's irresponsible. 

Acosta tried to keep fighting, but Sanders told Acosta that he was done. 

To end the briefing, MSNBC host and NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson wondered “at what point does the White House believe” that “a national tragedy” deserves “precedence over the President needing to punch back” at critics.

Jackson reiterated the demand for Trump to change his “rhetoric” to the media’s liking, so Sanders responded and departed the briefing room by citing an MRC study that found 90 percent negative broadcast network coverage of Trump from January through April 2018 (click “expand”):

SANDERS: Again, I think the President has had a number of moments of bringing the country together. Once again, I'll remind you that —

JACKSON: But when was that [INAUDIBLE]. The second thing he did was go after Democrats

SANDERS: — the very first thing was condemn the attacker and the very first thing the media does was blame the President. You guys have a huge responsibility to play in the divisive nature of this country when 90 percent of the coverage of everything this President does is negative, despite the fact that the country is doing extremely well, despite the fact that the President is delivering on exactly what he said he was going to do if elected. And he got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him and wanted to see his policies enacted. He's delivered on that. He's delivered on the promises he's made and if anything, I think it is sad and divisive the way that every single thing that comes out of the media, 90 percent of what comes out of the media’s mouths is negative about this President. Despite the fact that the economy is booming, despite the fact he said he would fix the trade deals and he's done exactly that. 

JACKSON: But Sarah, are you —

SANDERS: He said he would defeat ISIS, and he has. The President has been delivering day in, day out, and I think it would be nice if, every once in a while, we could focus on a few of the positive things that the President has done instead of just attacking him. 

JACKSON: More broadly, do you think the President bears —

SANDERS: Thanks so much, guys. 

JACKSON: — no responsibility for this?

To see the relevant transcript from October 29's White House Press Briefing, click “expand.”

White House Press Briefing
October 29, 2018
2:30 p.m. Eastern

JONATHAN KARL: Sarah, the President said over the weekend that he could tone up his rhetoric. What does he mean by that? Does he have any concern at all that his words could inspire or provoke troubled people to do awful things? 

(....)

2:31 p.m. Eastern

KARL: But he's also harshly attacked some of the very people that received those pipe bombs, and this morning suggesting that the news media is responsible for anger in the country. How does he do that when, in the case of pipe bomber, this was somebody who went to Trump rallies, and this is somebody who had a van covered with attacks on the media and praise for the President on the shooter in Pittsburgh is somebody who was provoked, it seems, by the caravan the President has spent so much time talking about. Why is he out there making attacks? 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Jonathan, the very first thing that the president did was condemn the attacks both in Pittsburgh and the pipe bombs. The very first thing the media did was blame the President and make him responsible for these ridiculous acts. That is outrageous that would be the very first reaction of so many people across this country.

KARL: But people aren’t blaming the President.

SANDERS: I'm not finished. The only person responsible for carrying out either of these heinous acts were the individuals who carried them out. It's not the President, no more than it was Bernie Sanders' fault for the individual who shot up a baseball field of congressional Republicans. You can't start putting the responsibility of individuals on anybody but the individual who carries out the crime. Steve? 

KARL: But why is the President suggesting it's the news media? The President is the one placing blame here. Just this morning —

SANDERS: No, the President is not placing blame. The president is not responsible for these acts. Again, the very first action that the president did was condemn these heinous acts. The very first thing that the media did was condemn the President and go after him and place blame on not just the President, but everyone who works in this administration. The major news network's first major statement was to blame the president and myself included. I mean, that is outrageous that anybody other than the individual who carried out the crime would hold that responsibility.

(....)

2:38 p.m. Eastern

JILL COLVIN:  I want to go back to the tone question. The President said he was planning to tone down his rhetoric this week. But in his rallies, since the suspicious packages began being mailed, the President has called out Maxine Waters by name at his rallies, he's stood there as his supporters chant “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton, and he continues to call her crooked Hillary Clinton. Will the President stop using that kind of language in light of the fact that these individuals were targeted in this attack? 

SANDERS: The President is going to continue to draw contrasts. Let's not forget that these same Democrats have repeatedly attacked the President, whether it was Eric Holder, saying kick 'em when they're down, whether it was Hillary Clinton saying, you can't be civil until Democrats have control of Congress, or whether it's Maxine Waters, who encouraged her supporters to get up, not just in the President's face, but all administration officials’ faces. Those actions are from those Democrats. The president is going continue to fight back when these individuals not only attack him, but attack members of his administration and supporters of his administration.

(....)

2:41 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: Sarah, yeah, I wanted to ask you, David Lapan, who was the spokesperson at DHS under Senator — Generally Kelly, Chief of Staff Kelly, a former Marine, worked at the Pentagon, tweeted this morning: “I dealt with the news media nearly every day. I know quite a bit about the press and I know this, they are not the enemy of the American people.” Shouldn't you reserve the term “enemy” for people who are actually the enemy of the United States, rather than journalists? 

SANDERS:  The President's not referencing all media. He's talking about the growing amount of fake news that exists in the country and the president's calling that out.

ACOSTA: May I ask a follow. May — may I ask a follow up, please? May I ask a follow-up please?

SANDERS: Sure, go ahead. Go ahead, Jim. 

ACOSTA: Since you mentioned that, the President said this morning: “The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly.” Could you state for the record which outlets that you and the President regard as the enemy of the people? 

SANDERS: I'm not going to walk through a list, but I think those individuals probably know who they are. 

ACOSTA: Would that include — would that include my outlet, which received bombs last week? 

SANDERS: I don't think it's necessarily specific to a general — broad generalization of a full outlet at times. I think there's individuals that the President would be referencing. Jordan? 

ACOSTA: So you're not going to state — so you’re not going to state for the record, then — I mean, if the President is going to say the fake news media are the enemy of the people and if you’re going to stand there and continue to say that there are some journalists, some news outlets in this country that meet that characterization, shouldn't you have the guts, Sarah, to state which outlets, which journalists are the enemy of the people? 

SANDERS: I think it's irresponsible of a news organization like yours to blame responsibility of a pipe bomb that was not sent by the President, not just blame the President, but blame members of his administration for those heinous acts. I think that is outrageous and I think it's irresponsible. 

ACOSTA: The bomber — the bomber — the bomber was caught, Sarah. We didn’t say that the President —

SANDERS: Jim, I've given you three questions. Jordan, go ahead.

(....)

2:47 p.m. Eastern

HALLIE JACKSON: So in and throughout the course of briefing, you have repeatedly defended the President's attacks on his political opponents as valid because the midterms are coming up.

SANDERS: No. 

JACKSON: So at what point does the White House believe — 

SANDERS: Not because of the midterms. 

JACKSON: — you were talking about a contrast.

SANDERS: I've defended the president fighting back when he's regularly attacked. There's a difference. Doesn't matter if there's a midterm or not. The president's going to defend himself and he's going to fight back. 

JACKSON: From a political perspective, right? You're making that point, it seems. 

SANDERS: From any perspective. 

JACKSON: But at what point does a national tragedy take precedence over the President needing to punch back? If not now, when? 

SANDERS: I think you saw the President do exactly that in the wake of a national tragedy. Not just this week, but every time our country is experienced the type of heartache and pain that we have over the last week, this is a President who has risen to that occasion and worked to bring our a country together on a number of occasions, whether it's the hurricanes, whether it's the Las Vegas shooting, whether it was the Pittsburgh shooting, all horrible, horrible tragedies that this country has experienced, and this president has come out, condemned the attacks when it is caused by an individual and tried to look for ways to provide and bring the country when it was a natural 

JACKSON: But both he and you have also acknowledged that in the next breath, after he calls for unity, he does talk about division in what you describe as drawing contrast. Is he incapable of, in the words of some, toning it down and toning down the rhetoric? 

SANDERS: Again, I think the President has had a number of moments of bringing the country together. Once again, I'll remind you that 

JACKSON: But when was that [INAUDIBLE]. The second thing he did was go after Democrats

SANDERS: — the very first thing was condemn the attacker and the very first thing the media does was blame the President. You guys have a huge responsibility to play in the divisive nature of this country when 90 percent of the coverage of everything this President does is negative, despite the fact that the country is doing extremely well, despite the fact that the President is delivering on exactly what he said he was going to do if elected. And he got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him and wanted to see his policies enacted. He's delivered on that. He's delivered on the promises he's made and if anything, I think it is sad and divisive the way that every single thing that comes out of the media, 90 percent of what comes out of the media’s mouths is negative about this President. Despite the fact that the economy is booming, despite the fact he said he would fix the trade deals and he's done exactly that. 

JACKSON: But Sarah, are you —

SANDERS: He said he would defeat ISIS, and he has. The President has been delivering day in, day out, and I think it would be nice if, every once in a while, we could focus on a few of the positive things that the President has done instead of just attacking him. 

JACKSON: More broadly, do you think the President bears —

SANDERS: Thanks so much, guys. 

JACKSON: — no responsibility for this?

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