Reince Priebus likely thought he was entering friendly territory to defend Donald Trump’s attacks on the press. However, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace (much like Shep Smith a few days ago) had no patience for the White House chief of staff’s approach. This discussion follows Trump’s combative press conference and his tweet-labeling of the media as “the enemy of the American People!”
Priebus tried to explain that Trump doesn’t hate the media but is simply frustrated (more like incensed) over the Russia thing. Priebus also claimed that the recent New York Times story about members of the Trump campaign being in contact with Russian intelligence (which was based upon calls intercepted by U.S. intelligence) was false. Priebus insisted that high-ranking members of U.S. intelligence told him the story was fake, but he could name no sources to back up this claim.
Wallace heard Priebus’ concern and answered that it was perfectly fine to be upset about bias. However, the host pointed out that Trump’s tweet went much further and veered into dangerous territory. Much like what Senator John McCain said this morning, Wallace confronted Priebus by saying that Trump is approaching the issue like a “dictator” would:
“We don’t have a state-run media in this country. That’s what they have in dictatorships … You don’t get to tell us what to do any more than Barack Obama did. Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time, but I gotta say, he never said we were an enemy of the people.”
Priebus then complained about the “outrageous” nature of accusations against the Trump team concerning Russia. Yet Wallace steered the conversation back to Trump’s “enemy” tweet, and — on behalf of Fox News — he stated, “We don’t like this.” In short, Wallace told Priebus that Trump’s attacks on the media went much further than any complaint Obama made about Fox News.
Trump’s chief of staff also popped over to Meet the Press, where he complained about the “daily gossip rags” who write the worst things about the White House’s inner workings. In particular, Priebus isn’t thrilled with reports that he and Steve Bannon are trying to one-up each other, which would explain that saccharine buddy-comedy interview they gave a week ago. In this clip, Priebus insisted that the media must be living in an “alternative universe” to report so much negativity.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 19, 2017