Republican Senate candidate and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is taking issue with President Donald Trump's attacking on the media as "the enemy of the people," arguing that the President's tactics are detrimental to democracy.
Romney wrote in a blog post on his campaign website Thursday that while he sometimes gets "irritated" by stories he knows are wrong, he "cannot conceive of thinking or saying that the media or any responsible news organization is an enemy."
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"Surely every president has endured stories that he knew were inaccurate and has chaffed at one or more news publications...," Romney, who's running for a US Senate seat in Utah, wrote.
"But no American president has ever before vilified the American press or one of its professional outlets as an "Enemy of the People."
Romney referenced Trump's tweet earlier this week that read that there's "great anger" in America "caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People..."
Trump's tweet came a few days after CNN received a pipe bomb threat in the mail and had to evacuate its New York bureau.
Romney argued that "denigrating the media diminishes an institution that is critical to democracy, both here and abroad."
"As a political tactic, it may be brilliant, but it comes with a large cost to the cause of freedom," he warned.
Romney said he was asked at a recent campaign event if he would "'take action to shut down ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and the New York Times.'"
"When I responded 'of course not,' and that, in fact, I would do everything in my power to preserve freedom of speech, the person persisted by arguing that these outlets purvey fake news. I found this deeply disturbing," Romney wrote.
Romney faces off against the Democratic nominee Jenny Wilson to fill retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch's seat. Romney, who harshly criticized Trump as a presidential candidate, has claimed that if elected to the Senate, he will support the President where he agrees and speak out when he doesn't.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday that the President is "not referencing all media" and not "necessarily specific to a broad generalization of a full outlet" when he says "fake news" is the "enemy of the people." She declined to give a list of media or journalists that the President feels meets that description.