Last week, President Donald Trump classified the American press as “the enemy of the American people” and again called several news organization’s coverage of his administration “fake news”.
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One of the most popular members of President Trump’s cabinet is Secretary of Defense and former Marine Corps General James Mattis. The general was a nearly unanimous confirmation in the Senate.
While traveling in the Middle East this weekend, Mattis was asked about the President’s classification of the press. Mattis broke with the president on his classification of the press as “the enemy.”
The interviewer said, “Sir, President Trump said this week that the press ‘is the enemy of the American people’. Do you agree?”
Mattis responded by conceding that while he has had his own problems with the press in the past, he does not think they are en enemy of the people.
He said, “I’ve had some rather contentious times with the press, but no, as far as I’m concerned, are a constituency that we deal with, and I don’t have any issues with the press myself.”
Mattis’ call sign in the Marines was “Chaos,” but his most popular nickname is “Mad Dog Mattis,” a name which he is allegedly not overly fond of. He claims that a member of the press used the name in an article and it ended up sticking.
As commander of United States Central Command during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mattis regularly had to deal with the press, and, at times, inaccurate reporting about dynamic situations in combat zones.
White House Chief of Staff and former head of the RNC Reince Priebus doubled down on Trump’s comments and said that he took the President’s recent classification very seriously during a recent talk show interview saying:
“I think that the media needs to stop with this unnamed source stuff,” Priebus said. “Put names on a piece of paper and print it. If people aren’t willing to put their name next to a quote, then the quote shouldn’t be listed.”
The attack on the press seems to have reached full force following several stories about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s premature contact with Russia. The facts of the story were clearly leaked by someone in the Trump administration and resulted in Flynn being forced to resign his position.
Here is the video interview of Mattis’s comments:
And here is another video showing Priebus’s comments: