On Wednesday, President Trump spoke at the commencement ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.
There, the president — who is currently mired in controversies — railed against the media and claimed that “no politician in history” had been “treated worse or more unfairly.”
During the commencement, Trump was presented with a ceremonial saber. After accepting it to applause, he returned to his seat next to Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John F. Kelly.
Smiling, Kelly leaned over the president and said, of the saber, “You can use that on the press.”
“Yeah, that’s right,” said Trump, as Kelly laughed.
Trump has long had a contentious relationship with the press, and once referred to the media as the “enemy of the American people.”
That acrimony was further heightened this week after twin bombshell stories from The Washington Post and the New York Times sent his administration into turmoil. Mentioned in the Times’s story on Tuesday was Trump’s suggestion to former FBI director James B. Comey that journalists who published classified information should be imprisoned.
Such comments “cross a dangerous line,” Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement. “But no president gets to jail journalists. Reporters are protected by judges and juries, by a congress that relies on them to stay informed, and by a Justice Department that for decades has honored the role of a free press by spurning prosecutions of journalists for publishing leaks of classified information.”