- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2018

President Trump defended his aggressive rhetoric toward the media, specifically the phrase “enemy of the people,” as a necessary element to his political success.

The president was grilled over the controversial phrase, calling the press an enemy, during an interview with Axios, which released a new clip Thursday.

He said his supporters “like me more” because of his tough tone aimed at what many of them deem to be the “liberal media.”

“It is my only form of fighting back,” Mr. Trump said, “I couldn’t be here if I didn’t do that.”

When pressed, Mr. Trump said he wouldn’t call Axios an “enemy” but stressed that if they released fake news, “that’s not a good thing for our country.”

The president’s comments come amid a surge of renewed backlash on his aggressive rhetoric toward all of his opponents in light of the Kroger shooting, the synagogue shooting and the mail bombing plot.

Many who oppose the president argue that by constantly insulting his political rivals and least favorite news outlets, he created a toxic environment and incited the violence seen last week.

Mr. Trump and the White House deny having a role in inspiring the violent plots and stressed the only responsible parties are the perpetrators themselves.

In the aftermath of the violence, Mr. Trump repeatedly blamed the media, particularly “Fake News Media,” for spurring anger and division in the country.

“The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly,” Mr. Trump tweeted Monday, “That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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