President Donald Trump doubled down on his administration’s criticism of ESPN following “SportsCenter” co-host Jemele Hill’s off-air Twitter comments calling him a white supremacist.
“ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers,” the president tweeted on Friday. “Apologize for untruth!”
The president’s tweet comes two days after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that the network fire Hill for her Monday Twitter rant against the president.
In one tweet, Hill wrote, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” She also referred to the president in another tweet as “a bigot.”
Asked about Hill’s comments at a press briefing on Wednesday, Huckabee Sanders said, “I think it’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.”
Huckabee Sanders’ remark prompted the anti-Trump super-PAC Democratic Coalition to file a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics, arguing that executive branch employees are prohibited from influencing the employment decisions or practices of a private entity or company “solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.”
On Wednesday, Hill expressed “regret that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light.” She also said, “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs.”
The sports network also released a statement Wednesday, saying: “Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN. She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.”
For the record: An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled Jemele Hill’s name.