By now, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that he is not a fan of the press. However, his Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, has a different opinion.
In an interview on Sunday, when he was asked if he agrees with Trump that “the press is the enemy of the American people,” Mattis responded:
‘I’ve had some rather contentious times with the press, but, no, the press, as far as I’m concerned, are a constituency that we deal with, and I don’t have any issues with the press myself.’
The interviewers were referring to a tweet the President posted on Friday about the “FAKE NEWS media.” Trump lumped together a number of trusted news outlets under the fake news umbrella, including The New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN.
‘The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!’
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Trump echoed his statements on Saturday during a rally in Melbourne, Florida. During his speech, he issued a warning about “the filter of the fake news,” claiming that they are “a big part of the problem” and “part of the corrupt system.”
He went on to compare himself to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln, claiming that they all fought with the media in a way similar to what he has done.
‘Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out oftentimes on their lies. When the media lies to people, I will never, ever let them get away with it.’
Although Mattis never mentioned Trump or his attacks on the media directly, it’s clear from his response that he doesn’t take critiques from the press as seriously or as personally as the president does.
In the interview, Mattis also addressed rumors that the military is being negatively affected by the “disarray” in Washington. He said:
‘Welcome to democracy. It’s at times wildly contentious, it’s at times quite sporting. But the bottom line is this is the best form of government that we can come up with.
‘We don’t have any disarray inside the military and that’s where my responsibility lies.’
Watch a clip from Mattis’ interview in the video below, available via Twitter.
Defense Sec. James Mattis on Pres. Trump calling the press the "enemy of the American people": "I don't have any issues with the press." pic.twitter.com/SRfmJp0QaI
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 19, 2017
Featured image is a screenshot from the video.