Trump backs off from criticism of media: I have 'a lot of respect' for reporters

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCanadian prime minister commemorates victims of Maryland newspaper shooting Trump suggested to Macron that France should leave the EU: report Maryland newspaper writer in emotional interview: ‘We need more than prayers’ MORE issued rare praise for journalists on Friday after a shooting on Thursday at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper left five people dead and others wounded.

Speaking to White House pool reporters on his way to Bedminster, New Jersey, the president said some of the “greatest people” he knows work as journalists.

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“I have a lot of respect for the press. Some of the greatest people I know are reporters,” Trump told reporters when asked about his previous comments referring to the press as the “enemy of the people.”

Trump made the comments on Twitter weeks ago, taking one his hardest stances yet against critical news coverage of his administration.

“So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN,” Trump tweeted. “They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have ‘begged’ for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”

In remarks at the White House earlier Friday, the president condemned Thursday’s “horrific” shooting at The Capital Gazette newspaper and promised that his administration “will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life.”

“This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief,” Trump said at a White House event marking six months of the Republican tax law.

“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.”

Shortly after Trump tweeted his condolences on Thursday following the shooting, White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters dismissed questions over whether Trump’s rhetoric had contributed to the attack in any way.

“There is no room for violence, and we stick by that,” she told reporters. “Violence is never tolerated in any form, no matter whom it is against. There is no room for violence in our country.”

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