Trump escalates anti-media rhetoric

WASHINGTON — Grap­pling with a wave of election-season violence, President Donald Trump escalated his rhetoric against the news media on Monday even as he made plans for a somber visit to Pennsylvania to mourn a synagogue massacre that left 11 dead.

Days after the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue and a mail-bomb scare targeting prominent Democrats and CNN, Trump argued that “fraudulent” reporting was contributing to anger in the country and declared that the press was the “true Enemy of the People.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders continued in the same vein at a press briefing, saying: “The very first action that the president did was condemn these heinous acts. The very first thing that the media did was condemn the president, go after him, try to place blame.”

While Trump has condemned the Pennsylvania shootings as an anti-Semitic act and has decried political violence, he also has continued his political schedule over the past week and largely kept up his criticism against Democrats and the media. The White House has rejected any suggestion that the president’s harsh rhetoric contributed to the toxic moment.

And Sanders made clear Trump was unlikely to change course, saying the president will “continue to fight back” against critics.

Trump will travel to Pennsylvania today with first lady Melania Trump. Sanders said Trump would go “to express the support of the American people and to grieve with the Pittsburgh community.”