The White House is encountering criticism after a blatantly anti-Semitic broadcaster said the Trump administration invited his outlet to cover the recent World Economic Forum.
Activists, journalists and a least one member of Congress were among those complaining Wednesday about the fringe TruNews outlet receiving press credentials to cover the event.
Rick Wiles, a Florida-based pastor and radio host who founded TruNews, had said that his organization was asked by the White House to attend the forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We just want to thank President Trump and the White House for extending the invitation to be here,” Mr. Wiles said in a video filmed from Davos. “We are honored to be here representing the kingdom of heaven and our king Jesus Christ.”
“Now, we did not seek to go to this global event; it was the White House that invited us at the last minute,” Mr. Wiles said last week, the Right-Wing Watch website first reported.
CNN reporter Jake Tapper subsequently reported Wednesday that the White House Correspondents’ Association confirmed the Trump administration had credentialed TruNews to attend.
The White House Correspondents’ Association told The Washington Times later that it has asked the administration for additional information about TruNews reporting from Davos.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
A self-described citizen reporter who claims to have been silently guided into media by “God’s hand,” Mr. Wiles has previously been branded an anti-Semite for remarks made on his TruNews radio broadcasts and website.
“That’s the way the Jews work, they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda,” Mr. Wiles said in November.
“This is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States and it’s beyond removing Donald Trump, it’s removing you and me,” he previously said about the impeachment proceedings underway against the president. “They’re coming for you. There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.”
Rep. Ted *Deutch, a Florida Democrat who complained last year about TruNews being granted access to the White House, said Wednesday that he “can’t believe” the outlet was credentialed by the Trump administration to broadcast from Davos, especially ahead of the 75th anniversary this week of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“Why on earth is the White House giving press credentials to this group?” PBS “Newshour” correspondent William Brangham asked on Twitter.
The American Jewish Committee, a not-for-profit organization devoted to combating anti-Semitism, tweeted, “There are many things TruNews should receive—top amongst them being derision and scorn. One thing that it should not receive is credentials from the White House. This needs to be rectified immediately.”
When reached for comment by The Washington Times, Mr. Wiles sent a 500-word statement defending TruNews and decrying its critics.
“We are unfairly smeared as anti-Semitic because we are not afraid to touch America’s political third-rail: the deep and pervasive foreign influence of Israeli Zionists in America,” wrote Mr. Wiles, who said he “not anti-Jewish” but rather “anti-Zionism.”
“TruNews will not back down no matter how much the pro-Israel attack dogs attempt to maul us,” Mr. Wiles said. “Our faith is in Jesus Christ.”
(* Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly identified Rep. Ted Deutch. The story was corrected in an updated version.)