Moments before U.S. Homeland Security Advisor Thomas Bossert appeared live on ABC’s This Week, President Donald Trump tweeted a video depicting himself bodyslamming and punching CNN. Needless to say, host Martha Raddatz asked for his immediate response. And it was one of pride.
“My first reaction to that tweet would be the same as any of the president’s tweets: There’s a lot of cable news shows that reach directly into hundreds of thousands of viewers and they’re really not always very fair to the president, so I’m pretty proud of the president for developing a Twitter and a social media platform where he can talk directly to the American people,” Bossert said. “Whatever the content of that tweet is or any tweet, he’s demonstrated a genuine ability to communicate to the people.”
“I want to ask you, is that the kind of communication you want, that he’s beating up on somebody, that he’s beating up on the media?” Raddatz pressed. “You’re in charge of homeland security there. That seems like threat.”
“Certainly not,” Bossert responded. “I think that no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don’t. But I do think that he’s beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to.”
“He’s simply pushing back defending himself,” Bossert added.
The tweeted video, which is from Trump’s 2007 appearance on WrestleMania 23, features Trump attacking WWE CEO Vince McMahon, whose head has been replaced with the CNN logo. “#FraudNewsCNN #FNN,” read the president’s caption.
After quoting Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ comments from earlier this week — “The President in no way form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary” — CNN released the following statement: “It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is instead involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”