Donald Trump is his best asset and at the same time his own worst enemy. Friday, the president gave a speech in South Carolina about job creation and the economy and got praised in the media for appearing presidential. By all accounts, it was one of the best days of his young presidency. The 45th U.S. president could have used this moment to reset his administration that was plagued by leaks and epic legal battles.
Instead, hours after the scripted and on-message event, the controversial billionaire got back to what he does best, start a new feud with his favorite target, the media. His supporters will be happy, while members of his own party and the rest of the country are scratching their heads in disbelief and wondering if this is as good as it gets with Mr. Trump.
The president tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Politicians have always used the media as a bogeyman, but a sitting president has never pushed things this far before, at least publicly. It is a whole new territory for all of the players involved.
Trump followers are quick to use former President Barack Obama’s tense relationship with Fox News Channel as an excuse to explain the behavior of the real estate giant, but the two situations are entirely different.
First of all, Fox News is proud to label itself as a right-leaning network. It is not the case for those entities that Trump is targeting. Secondly, Obama spent a lot of time whining, but never called Fox News an “enemy of the American People.” Thirdly, Obama never rallied his supporters against Fox News in a way that can be dangerous for people who work there.
Media figures like MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who tend to be fair in their treatment of Trump, say that this attack is not productive in any way.