White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Fox News’ Chris Wallace clashed Sunday morning over Donald Trump’s labeling of mainstream media as “the enemy of the American people,” with Wallace saying, “we don’t have a state-run media” in this country, to which Priebus responded by criticizing the media for publishing “unsourced” stories.
Priebus argued that the media was giving too much coverage to Trump’s perceived failures rather than policy, but Wallace responded by saying Fox News covered both.
“When the President says that we’re the enemy of the American people,” Wallace noted, “it makes it sound like if you’re going against him, you’re going against the country.”
The two then debated over comparisons between how Trump and former President Barack Obama spoke about the press.
“You don’t get to tell us what to do, Reince!” said Wallace. “You don’t get to tell us what to do any more than Barack Obama did. I’ve got to say he never said that we were an enemy of the people.”
Earlier Sunday, Wallace spoke more about his concerns over Trump’s comments with the hosts of “Fox and Friends,” saying that Trump “crossed a line” when he declared the media was the public’s enemy. “Fox and Friends” host Pete Hegseth defended Trump, saying he was criticizing media bias.
“When our founders were there, there were partisan press,” Hegseth argued. “Papers were Republican or Democrat or Federalist and it was open about it. [Trump] is saying, they tell you they’re unbiased, but I know they’re biased because I see the fake news. It’s not about the independence of the press, it’s about the bias of the press.”
Wallace responded by saying that he wouldn’t have been as concerned if Trump was criticizing a specific story or publication, but felt that Trump was attacking a core part of American democracy with a wholesale attack against news organizations.
“I know there are a lot of [Fox News] listeners out there who are going to reflexively take Donald Trump’s side on this,” he added. “It’s a different thing when it’s a president because if it’s a president you like trying to talk about the press being the enemy of the people, then it’s going to be a president you don’t like saying the same thing. And that’s very dangerous.”
Watch Wallace’s interview with Priebus in the clip above.