White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Sunday defended President Trump and a top aide’s sharp criticism this weekend of news agencies, saying “there is an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president.”
“We are not going to sit around and let it happen,” Priebus told “Fox News Sunday.”
Trump suggested to CIA staffers Saturday on his visit to the agency that his well-publicized rift with the U.S. intelligence community was drummed up by the media.
Trump didn’t agree with some in the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia influenced the 2016 White House race to help him win.
And Trump argued more recently that somebody within that community leaking an unofficial dossier with alleged damaging personal information about him was like living in “Nazi Germany.”
Priebus told Fox that “one bad actor” likely leaked the document so Trump wasn’t angry at all of the country’s intelligence officers.
“I’m telling you; It was a love fest in there,” Priebus said about Trump’s visit at CIA headquarters that was attended by about 300 staffers.
He also suggested that a reporter was at best careless in erroneously reporting that Trump has removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office.
“It could have had explosive ramifications. … It was shoot first, point later,” he said about the inaccurate report, for which the reporter later apologized.
Priebus also defended Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments Saturday about the news media underreporting the crowd size at Trump’s swearing-in Friday.
At a hastily called White House press conference, Spicer angrily accused the media of “false reporting” on the inauguration as part of what he called a “shameful” attempt to minimize enthusiasm for Trump. He then left without taking questions.
Priebus said Sunday: “The point is not the crowd,” he said. “The point is the media is trying to delegitimize the presidency.”