President Donald Trump condemns groups promoting violence, including members of a right-wing organization that showed up at a Florida rally on Tuesday, and believes in greater media accountability after supporters heckled a CNN reporter during the event, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.
“The president condemns and denounces any group that would incite violence against another individual and certainly doesn’t support groups that would promote that type of behavior,” Sanders told reporters at the White House briefing. “We’ve been clear about that a number of times since the beginning of the administration.”
Members of QAnon, a sprawling right-wing conspiracy group whose allegations include the existence of a secret child sex-trafficking network run by Democrats, showed up at Trump’s rally in Tampa, where he endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis for governor.
The group emerged last year on a 4Chan messaging board, when someone claiming to be “Q” alleged to be a government insider who knows about secret “deep state” plots by key Democrats and officials, according to news reports.
Members wore T-shirts and held up signs at the Trump rally, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
DeSantis, who is quitting Congress to seek the governorship, faces state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in Florida’s Aug. 28 Republican primary.
The Tampa crowd also booed and heckled CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta as he tried to do a stand-up shot before the rally began.
Trump supporters shouted “CNN sucks” during his reporting.
The president on Wednesday retweeted son Eric Trump’s post praising the harassment:
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 1, 2018
“The president, as I just said, does not support violence against anyone or anything,” Sanders said when asked about the heckling. “We’ve been very clear every single time we’ve been asked about that.
“When it comes to the media, the president does think that the media holds a responsibility.
“We fully support a free press,” she said. “There also comes a high level of responsibility with that.”
Sanders noted how the press “routinely reports on classified information and government secrets that put lives in danger and risk valuable national security tools.
“This is a two-way street,” she said. “We certainly support free press, condemn violence against anybody — but we ask people to act responsibly and report accurately and fairly.”
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