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Sean Spicer: Donald Trump Has “Healthy Respect For Press” And “Deep Respect For 1st Amendment”

Deadline logo Deadline 2/21/2017 Lisa de Moraes
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President Donald Trump has “deep respect for the First Amendment and “a healthy respect for the press,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted, four days after Trump tweeted this:

…and three days after he told followers at a re-election campaign speech he wanted to be in an airport hangar “filled with “American patriots who love their country,” in contradistinction to “the dishonest media, which has published one false story after another, with no sources” and “don’t want to report the truth.”

“They have become a big part of the problem,” Trump had said of the media, three days before Sean Spicer doubled down, at his White House press briefing, on the president’s “deep respect for… the role of the press.”

Spicer noted he’d already “addressed this multiple times in the past,” though not since Trump issued his tweet, and made his rally remarks that caused Republican Sen. John McCain to caution that suppressing the press “is how dictators get started.”

Bill Maher’s name came up at the briefing, when a reporter told Spicer the late-night political satirist had mocked Trump for getting briefed with the prime minister of Japan, as to the latest activities of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un, in front of Mar-a-Lago guests.

It’s amazing, a photo gets put out; the president’s got a piece of paper, and the immediate conclusion is he’s got to be talking about classified information,” Spicer vented.

“The president was briefed on the situation in North Korea prior to the dinner in a SCIF at Mar-a-Lago. He went and had dinner. They discussed the logistics of the press conference…and subsequent to that dinner he was briefed in a SCIF with updates on the situation in North Korea. That’s it. Plain and simple.

‘It’s disheartening to realize that those are the kind of immediate conclusions that somebody jumps to. When you talk about coverage, we have a free press… we have the right for people to say and do what they believe. But, at some point, it is incumbent on people to try to get it right. In that case it wasn’t even attempted. It was a jump to conclusion by many to say there must be something else going on. When in fact we were able to provide a very clear tick-tock as to what happened.”

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