President Trump struck a somber tone Friday when discussing the deadly shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md.
“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” Trump said of the shooting, which killed five people.
The suspected shooter, Jarrod Ramos, 38, had feuded with the newspaper since a 2011 column denounced his harassment of a high school classmate.
The attacker blasted into the newsroom armed with a pump-action shotgun, allegedly barricading an exit – and targeting employees trying to escape.
Trump said the violence “shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief.”
But the President’s sentiments ring hollow due to his ongoing hostility toward the media — he’s called journalists the “enemy of the American people” and in some cases, appeared to encourage violence.
Most notably, Trump in July 2017 tweeted a crudely edited video of himself tackling and punching the CNN logo.
The 2007 video clip — which shows WWE owner Vince McMahon with a CNN logo over his face — was accompanied by the words, “#FraudNewsCNN #FNN.”
After backlash, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.”
At a campaign-style rally in Phoenix the following month, Trump again fired off hostile musings on the media, blasting journalists as “sick people” who are “trying to take away our history and our heritage.”
“I really think they don’t like our country,” he told the crowd.
Trump’s criticism of the media —specifically the liberal media — has been a mainstay of his platform since his campaign kicked off in July 2015, and he regularly ignites his base with calls of “fake news.”
During a December 2015 rally, he joked that he would “never kill” reporters, “but I do hate ‘em.
“Some of them are such lying, disgusting people,” he said. “It’s true. But I would never kill ‘em, and anybody that does, I think would be despicable.”
One attendee at a rally in Minnesota days before the 2016 election wore a T-shirt with the words, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.”
Weeks after Trump reached office, his team distributed a survey to the public that urged supporters to “do your part to fight back against the media’s attacks and deceptions.”
Questions included, “Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?” and “On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans? (Select as many that apply.)”
He later tweeted that the press was a “great danger” to the U.S.
Trump also backed then-chief strategist Steve Bannon, who had told The New York Times that the media should be “embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”