When White House chief of staff Reince Priebus sat down for an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, he probably thought he was going to have a softball conversation with an ally where he would divert from important issues and continue victimizing President Donald Trump in his war against the media.
Tragically, for Priebus, it did not work out in his favor.
The Fox News host was already seething over the president’s tweet referring the media as “the enemy of the American people.”
It was a dire accusation and Wallace wasted no time grilling the former RNC chief about it.
“The president believes that a free and independent press is a threat to the country?” Wallace began.
Since Fox News was not included in Trump’s list of “enemies,” Priebus was (apparently) not expecting the anchor to lambaste him and certainly looked ill-prepared to defend his bigoted boss.
“I understand where he’s coming from,” the chief of staff struggled. “There are certain things that are happening in the news that just aren’t honest. And we’re not talking about everyone, Chris. We’re not talking about all news, but we’re talking about something that I guess he’s termed as fake news.”
And then began the brutal takedown, where Priebus tried to turn the tables on media over its supposedly vilifying coverage of the Trump administration — particularly the report about Trump team’s alleged phone calls with Russia intelligence officials.
However, Wallace refused to back down.
“Here’s the problem, when the president says we’re the enemy of the American people, it makes it sounds like if you are going against him, you are going against the country,” the host said. “I don't have any problem with you complaining about an individual story, but you went a lot further than that — or the president went a lot further than that he said that the 'fake media,' not certain stories, the 'fake media' are an 'enemy to the country.' We don’t have a state-run media in this country; that’s what they have in dictatorships.”
Priebus tried to argue the issue is bigger than “just two stories,” claiming that cable news ignores the administration’s accomplishments “24 hours a day, seven days a week” and instead focuses on “total garbage, un-sourced stuff” about Trump and the Russians.
Ironically, right after complaining about the media using “anonymous sources,” Priebus did the same by citing an unnamed intelligence source and asserting the Russia story “is not only inaccurate, but it’s grossly overstated and it’s wrong and there’s nothing to it.”
During the fiery interview, Wallace also reminded the Republican official even former President Barack Obama, who refused to sit down with Fox News for ages, never went this far.
The statement struck a nerve with Priebus, who had earlier shown surprise that someone from the conservative network would “forget all the shots” Obama took at it.
“No, he took the shots. And we didn't like it,” Wallace acknowledged. “And, frankly, we don't like this either, because, you know—but he never went as far as President Trump has and that’s what’s concerning because it seems like he crosses a line when he talks about that we’re an enemy of the people. That is concerning.”
He then added, “You don’t get to tell us what to do any more than Barack Obama did. Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time, but I gotta say, he never said that we were an enemy of the people.”
Watch the entire exchange in the video above.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters