Trump blames ‘fraudulent’ media for recent violence in US

President’s comments come in wake of fatal synagogue shooting and mail bombs

US president Donald Trump said the “great anger in our country” was caused in part by “inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news”. Photograph: Al Drago/Reuters

US president Donald Trump said the “great anger in our country” was caused in part by “inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news”. Photograph: Al Drago/Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump renewed his attack on the media as “the enemy of the people” on Monday as he blamed “fraudulent” reporting for a recent spate of violence in America.

In a series of tweets Mr Trump said that the “great anger in our country” was caused in part by “inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news”.

“The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and then we will be able to bring All sides together in peace and harmony. Fake News Must End!” he said.

His tweet followed similar comments on social media in the preceding 24 hours in which he attacked the media.

Division

“The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country. Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!” he tweeted.

His comments came at the end of a week of violence in the United States which culminated with the killing of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Mr Trump and his wife Melania are due to visit the scene of the massacre on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition organised by the Jewish group Bend the Arc calling on the president to denounce white supremacism before he visits Pittsburgh.

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Speaking at the White House on Monday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Mr Trump’s response to the tragedy, noting that the president was a grandfather to Jewish grandchildren and that he “cherishes the American Jewish community”.

“The very first thing the president did was denounce these killings,” she said, claiming that a major news network’s first public statement was “to blame the president and myself included. That is outrageous that anybody other than the individual who carried out the crime would hold that responsibility”.

She added: “The president spends every single minute of every single day looking for the best ways to protect the safety and security of Americans, and we’re going to continue to do that.”

Asked by journalists which news outlets the White House deemed to be the “enemy of the people”, Ms Sanders said that the president was referring to individual journalists.

Criminal charges

Meanwhile Robert Bowers, the man who is suspected of murdering the 11 Jewish worshippers and injuring six more, made his first appearance in court in Pittsburgh on Monday.

Mr Bowers, who was released from hospital in order to attend the hearing, appeared before the judge in a wheelchair and handcuffed. Asked if he understood the 29 criminal charges against him, he replied: “Yes.”

He is due back in court on Thursday.

Separately, Cesar Sayoc, the man who was arrested on Friday in connection with more than a dozen packages sent to senior Democratic figures last week, appeared in court in Miami on Monday.

His court appearance took place hours after another package addressed to CNN was intercepted, this time in Atlanta, bringing the total number of packages seized to 15.

Mr Sayak faces five federal charges and could face up to 58 years in prison. Flanked by three attorneys, the 56-year-old was ordered to be held in custody and is due back in court on Friday.

There were unconfirmed reports that the FBI retrieved a list of approximately 100 individuals who the suspect was trying to target during searches of his van and belongings. It is understood that law enforcement officials have begun reaching out to people on the list.