Claim:

At a March 2024 campaign rally in Rome, Georgia, former U.S. President Donald Trump pointed at members of the press and said, “I watch these criminals back there. The press. Look at them.”

Rating:

Rating: Correct Attribution

Rating: Correct Attribution

On March 9, 2024, X user @BidenHQ – an official rapid response account for U.S. President Joe Biden‘s reelection campaign – posted a video that purported to show former President Donald Trump pointing at members of the press and calling them “criminals.”

This video was also posted by Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko, who previously served as the director of grassroots engagement for former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

It’s true that Trump pointed at members of the press and called them “criminals.” The clip posted on X came from part of a Trump campaign rally on March 9 at the Forum River Center venue in Rome, Georgia. The speech lasted just under two hours, according to a complete video of the remarks posted on C-SPAN.org.

“I watch these criminals back there. The press,” Trump said, pointing at the cameras and reporters in the room. “Look at them. Look at how many of them. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of people. Wow. I always say they should endorse me because I’m the best thing that ever happened to their ratings.”

Moments later, Trump said, “But we need a free and fair press. And they’re totally wise to you,” he said, speaking to the members of the press. “You know, the people are wise to these people. And I’m not saying all of them. I’d say about 94.2 percent.”

Near the end of the same speech, while speaking to the gathered crowd over dramatic music, Trump said he believed the press to be “fake news” and “the enemy of the people” — two phrases he had previously used at other times in past years.

“We are a nation that no longer has a free and fair press. Fake news is all you get,” he said. “And they indeed, oh yes, they are indeed the enemy of the people.”

This moment occurs at the 1:37:58 mark in the following YouTube video posted by Atlanta News First:

In contrast to Trump’s “enemy of the people” rhetoric, Biden previously affirmed in past years his belief that the press is “not the enemy of the people.”

“The free press is not the enemy of the people,” Biden said on World Press Freedom Day in 2022. “Quite the opposite, when driven by a quest to illuminate and educate, not inflame or entertain, the free press is the guardian of truth.”

Sources:

Boak, Josh, et al. “Trump Blasts Biden over Laken Riley’s Death after Biden Says He Regrets Using Term ‘Illegal.'” The Associated Press, 9 Mar. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/biden-illegal-riley-marjorie-taylor-greene-trump-04924ffb3be76d60e1b6e8796a968051.

Breuninger, Kevin. “Trump Slams the Media as ‘the True Enemy of the People’ Days after CNN Was Targeted with Mail Bombs.” CNBC, 29 Oct. 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/29/trump-slams-media-as-true-enemy-of-the-people-days-after-cnn-targeted.html.

“Campaign 2024: Former President Trump Campaigns in Rome, Georgia.” C-SPAN.org, 9 Mar. 2024, https://www.c-span.org/video/?534136-1/president-trump-campaigns-rome-georgia.

Johnson, Ted. “Joseph Biden: ‘This Division, This Hatred, This Ugliness … Has to End.'” Variety, 26 Oct. 2018, https://variety.com/2018/politics/news/joseph-biden-remarks-packages-ugliness-1202995808/.

“Remarks by President Biden at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.” The White House, 1 May 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/05/01/remarks-by-president-biden-at-the-white-house-correspondents-association-dinner/.

Slack, Donovan. “Trump to CNN: ‘You Are Fake News.'” USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/01/11/trump-cnn-press-conference/96447880/.

“Statement by President Joe Biden on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2022.” The White House, 3 May 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/05/03/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-the-occasion-of-world-press-freedom-day-2022/.

Terris, Ben. “Meet the Clinton Staffer Who Has Devoted His Life to Her Cause. Will It Be Worth It?” The Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/meet-the-clinton-staffer-who-has-devoted-his-life-to-her-cause-will-it-be-worth-it/2016/01/28/466d39fa-c12e-11e5-bcda-62a36b394160_story.html.

Thomas, Ken. “As Clinton Begins, Her Super PAC Plans to Fold.” The Associated Press, 7 Apr. 2015, https://apnews.com/united-states-presidential-election-events-866beac19a8b4ebea00b9c61cd4eed8d.

“WATCH LIVE: Donald Trump Speaks at Rally in Rome.” YouTube, Atlanta News First, 9 Mar. 2024, https://www.youtube.com/live/_VD-aRQGEVs?si=lGIFxKlDrVaqWDe_.

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