President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on “fake news” in front of cheering conservative activists today while saying he’s not against all media or the First Amendment.
Trump spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C. The part-time Palm Beach resident has spoken to CPAC in the past as a presidential waters-tester and celebrity outsider — but came today as a conquering hero.
Despite his many past differences with conservatives, Trump found common ground with his audience by ripping the mainstream media, a target of decades of conservative criticism.
“We are fighting the fake news. It’s fake. Phony. Fake. A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people, because they have no sources, they just make them up when there are none,” Trump said.
Trump created an uproar on Feb. 17 when, during a visit to Palm Beach, he tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
At CPAC, he said coverage of that tweet underscores his criticism.
“They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the ‘fake’ news the enemy of the people. The ‘fake’ news – they dropped off the word ‘fake’ and all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy. They take the word ‘fake’ out,” Trump said.
“I’m not against the media. I’m not against the press. I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them….but I am only against the fake news media or press. Fake. Fake. They have to leave that word. I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.”
Later, Trump added: “I love the First Amendment. Nobody loves it better than me. I mean, who uses it more than I do? But the First Amendment gives all of us…the right to speak our minds freely. It gives you the right and me the right to criticize fake news and criticize it strongly.”
Trump added that “fake news…doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people and we’re going to do something about it because we have to go out and we have to speak our minds.”