U.S. President Donald Trump continues with his virulent attacks against the legitimacy of the nation’s press as time goes on — and veteran news anchor Dan Rather is among those deeply concerned.
Tuesday night, Trump visited Florida to rally with Ron DeSantis, who is aiming to be the Republican candidate for Florida governor in the midterm elections later this year. (First he has to face a primary.) At that rally, a crowd of Trump supporters gathered around where CNN’s Jim Acosta was reporting and launched rounds and rounds of harassment against him, losing it at the very presence of a man who was just there to do his job.
Trump personally boosted a video of his supporters going after Acosta, and Rather has had enough.
In a statement published to his Facebook page, he said:
‘We cannot allow ourselves to shrug off President Trump’s attacks on the press. Ever. They are undemocratic and are at the point of inviting, even inciting, violence. To say this again, now, is to repeat something I and others have said many times before. But it bears repeating. It demands repeating.’
Video of what’s basically a mob confronting Acosta Tuesday night in Florida has been shared widely at this point. One clip racked up well over 2 million views in less than 24 hours; in the footage, the Trump supporters chant “CNN sucks!” over and over again. That particular clip — which you can see below — was shared by the president and his son Eric.
WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally pic.twitter.com/2fwQQRVsQf
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 31, 2018
Acosta also shared other video of similar harassment from the same rally, alerting, as others have done, that it’s a surefire way to enact real physical violence against members of the media.
‘I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy.’
Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018
Acosta isn’t just using a figure of speech in asserting that the press is not the enemy. Donald Trump has repeatedly called the mainstream media — excluding Fox, of course — the enemy of the American people.
On June 13 of this year, after meeting with the murderous dictator of North Korea Kim Jong Un — with whom he claimed to have formed a special bond — he tweeted:
‘Our country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!’
He’d used the phrase in the past, employing that particular attack in February 2017.
In the time since — and in the time before that February tweet — the president has carried on with attacks that have at times zeroed in on Acosta. For instance, at a recent joint appearance before the press in the United Kingdom with British Prime Minister Theresa May, he skipped right over Acosta when taking questions and blasted his outlet as “fake.”
Rather pointed out the particular abuse Acosta has endured under the Trump administration, soberly noting:
‘For many reasons, none of them fair, Acosta has come to symbolize the idea of “the enemy of the people” to many Trump supporters. He is on point, out front and the reporter the powerful hate most and have him in their bull’s eye. He’s in the most danger, professionally and personally — and perhaps even physically.’
Other journalists, as Rather noted, remain in possible physical danger as well. Not too long ago, a gunman stormed the office of the Capital Gazette in Maryland and killed five people.
Still, Trump continues on with his attacks against the press.
In this light, Rather commented:
‘I will tell you one thing. If violence ever comes to the press in this environment, President Trump will be personally accountable.’
Read his thoughts below.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot