White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed on Friday that President Donald Trump has always “condemned violence against journalists or anyone else.”
In response to a question about the recent arrest of Christopher Paul Hasson, a Coast Guard lieutenant who allegedly plotted to kill prominent Democrats and members of the media, Sanders said, “In fact, every single time something like this happens, the president is typically one of the first people to condemn the violence, and the media is the first people to blame the president.”
After arrest of Coast Guard lieutenant, who allegedly amassed weapons and compiled list of Democratic lawmakers and journalists, Sarah Sanders says Pres. Trump hasn't "at any point" done anything "but condemn violence, against journalists or anyone else." https://t.co/vD1SnbtLMf pic.twitter.com/JO6LCpexIm
— ABC News (@ABC) February 22, 2019
But in reality, Trump has repeatedly encouraged violence against various individuals since declaring his candidacy in 2015.
At a campaign rally last October, the president praised Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for being convicted of assaulting a reporter and suggested it helped the Montana Republican get elected.
In a 2017 speech, Trump encouraged more police violence and urged the audience of law enforcement officers to not “be too nice” while arresting “thugs.”
The president also promoted a video that depicted him physically assaulting CNN in 2017.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump suggested “Second Amendment people” could stop Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton if she won the election.
Trump repeatedly encouraged violence against protesters at campaign events in 2016, telling his supporters things like “You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out in a stretcher, folks” and “Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court — don’t worry about it.”
Contrary to Sanders’ claims, Trump hasn’t yet commented publicly about U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and alleged domestic terrorist Christopher Paul Hasson, but he did tweet about Jussie Smollett on Thursday.
This isn’t the first time that Trump’s rhetoric has been tied to acts of violence.
In October, a Florida man whose vehicle was covered in pro-Trump stickers was arrested after allegedly mailing explosive devices to a dozen Democrats and media members who are frequent targets of the president’s incendiary rhetoric.
Later that month, an anti-Semite allegedly murdered 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue after ranting about conspiracy theories regarding immigrants that the president also promoted.
Trump has repeatedly referred to news media as “the enemy of the people,” a phrase that was used by the California man who was arrested in August for threatening a mass shooting against the Boston Globe over its criticism of the president.
A BBC cameraman was also attacked by a Trump supporter who yelled “fuck the media!” at a rally in Texas last week.
Shortly after Sanders’ remarks, Trump retweeted an illustration of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer while proclaiming “Fake News is so bad for our Country!”
Fake News is so bad for our Country! https://t.co/ZwA8E0URer
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2019