Chris Wallace surprised Fox News viewers and Reince Priebus by aggressively questioning the White House chief of staff about Russia, the chaos surrounding the National Security Adviser position and President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media.
Wallace told Priebus Trump “crosses a line when he talks about that we’re an enemy of the people. That is concerning.”
During the interview Priebus said to Wallace, “I don’t know why you’re so hot here, you’re going bananas here, Chris. It’s ridiculous.”
The Sunday morning interview, which you can watch above, came after Trump tweeted on Friday that the “fake news media” is the “enemy of the American people!”
Trump continued his assault on the free press at a campaign-style rally Saturday in Melbourne, Florida, saying he wanted to speak to his supporters “without the filter of the fake news” from the “dishonest media, which published one false story after another with no sources, even though they pretend they have them. They make them up in many cases. They just don’t want to report the truth. … They’ve become a big part of a problem. They are part of the corrupt system.”
Wallace began his interview on Fox News Sunday by asking Priebus if “the president believes a free and independent press is a threat to the country?”
Priebus responded by saying “there are certain things in the news that are just not honest,” and the White House isn’t “talking about everyone. We’re not talking about all news. We’re talking about what I guess he has termed as fake news.”
As an example, Priebus cited the New York Times report that Trump’s campaign had constant contact with Russian spies.
He said, citing conversations with the intelligence community, that the Times’ story is “not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated and it’s wrong. There’s nothing to it.”
Priebus has also recently attacked the media’s use of anonymous sources in reporting, saying that practice should stop.
Wallace then cut off Priebus as he continued to mention other reports he disagrees with. He then asks Priebus who told him the Times report is false.
“You just complained about unnamed sources, you used an unnamed source,” Wallace said. Priebus said he didn’t ask for approval to use their names, but they are “top-level people.”
Wallace told Priebus that he doesn’t have a problem with the White House complaining about specific stories, but Trump “went a lot further” by calling the “fake media an enemy to the country.” Wallace said “we don’t have a state-run media in this country, that’s what they have in dictatorships.”
Priebus said it isn’t just stories, it’s the follow-up conversations on cable media that the White House is not happy about, calling it “total garbage, unsourced” reporting. Priebus then went on to complain about how the media is not covering the things the White House believe to be positive stories.
Wallace retorted, “You don’t get to tell us what to do, Reince. You don’t get to tell us what to do anymore than Barack Obama did. Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time, but I got to say he never said we’re the enemy of the people.”
He said Fox News was never happy with Obama’s comments about Fox News, but Wallace said the former president never went as far as Trump did.
Wallace later interviewed conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh about Trump’s comments on the media. You can watch that interview below:
Trump cited Limbaugh in two tweets last week after the radio host praised his Thursday press conference.