WH Deputy Press Secretary: Trump Won't Sit Back and Be Attacked by the Liberal Media

By Melanie Arter | June 29, 2017 | 7:08pm EDT
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Screenshot of C-SPAN video)

(CNSNews.com) - White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday defended President Donald Trump's tweets about MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzeznski, saying the president is not going to sit back and be attacked by the liberal media, and that when they hit him, he will hit back.

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came.....to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” Trump tweeted Thursday.

During a televised White House press briefing, Sanders was asked whether the president went too far with his tweet.

"I don't think so," Sanders said. "I think the president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program, and I think he made it very clear that when he gets attacked, he's gonna hit back. I think the American people elected someone who's tough, who's smart, and who's a fighter, and that's Donald Trump, and I don't think that's a surprise to anybody that he fights fire with fire.

"The things that this show has called him, and not just him but numerous members of his staff are very deeply personal, so to then turn and pretend like this approach is --- I guess it's kind of like living in the Twilight Zone. They do this day after day after day, and then the president responds and defends himself, and everybody is appalled and blown away," she said.

Sanders said if this had happened during the Obama administration, "the type of attacks launched on this program, the things they say - utterly stupid, personality disorder, mentally ill, constant personal attacks, calling multiple members liars, liars to their faces while they're sitting on their programs, the rest of the media would have said, 'Guys no way. Hold on.'  But nobody does that, but the president, he's not going to step back. He’s showed that, and that’s exactly what he did today."

"A couple of the criticisms from supporters of the president have been that this particular tweet was beneath the dignity of the office. Where does the president draw that line, on the dignity of the office?" Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts asked.

"He shows that everyday in the decisions that he's making, the focus and the priorities he's laid out in the agenda but he's not going to sit back and be attacked by the liberal media, Hollywood elites, and when they hit him, he's going to hit back," Sanders said.

"Some have suggested in their tweet response or public announcements today that the president misconstrued one of the messages that should have been gathered from the shooting that involved Steve Scalise and others, the hostility of the verbal environment can create an atmosphere of violence. I’m not saying that, but members of Congress have said that about this particular tweet," CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett said.  

"I know that episode affected the president and those here at the White House personally, very importantly and deeply. Do you have any reaction to that sentiment, that conversations like this create an atmosphere that is either dangerous or one we need to avoid?" Garrett asked.

"The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary, and he was simply pushing back and defending himself," Sanders said.

"I want to go back to the shooting and remember what President Trump said then. He said, 'Our country will perhaps become closer, more unified, so important.' Does his tweet this morning, his series of tweets help to unify the country?" NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker asked.

"Again, Kristen, I think I’ve asked and -- this question has been asked and I’ve answered it several times," Sanders said.

"But do his tweets help to unify the country, to do what he said he wanted to see happen in the wake of that shooting?" Welker asked.

"Look, again, I think that the president is pushing back against people who attack him day after day after day. Where is the outrage on that? You guys are constantly coming and asking, like, is this okay -- he does it one time -- this is day after day after day, and it’s not just the president --" Sanders said. "The only person that I see a war on is this president and everybody that works for him."

"Sarah, two questions, to follow up on that. One is that I understand your point, but he’s the president of the United States, they are cable news anchors. So he has to stand to a higher standard, one, and two, you talk about criticism, he said that former President Obama wasn’t born in this country, right? So he clearly was a part of criticizing the past president, who was not immune to criticism himself. So I wonder how you make that argument," Welker said.

"Again, I think I’ve been pretty clear that when the president gets hit, he’s going to hit back harder, which is what he did here today," Sanders said.

"Doesn’t he have to meet a higher standard than cable news anchors, Sarah? Doesn’t he have to meet a higher standard than cable news anchors?" Welker asked.

"Look, I don’t think you can expect someone to be personally attacked day after day, minute by minute, and sit back. Look, the American people elected a fighter. They didn’t elect somebody to sit back and do nothing. That’s -- they knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump, and he won overwhelmingly," Sanders said.

Another reporter asked Sanders about a Maris poll that showed 68 percent of registered voters think the president's tweets "are reckless and distracting" and "only 22 percent say that they're effective and informative."

"And Republicans on this question are split down the middle -- half of Republicans say that they’re reckless and distracting. So how can you argue that this is something the president must do?" the reporter asked.

"I answered this question yesterday in regards to the poll. I think any time the president has a chance to speak directly to the American people, it’s a good thing," Sanders said.

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