No reporter asked Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Tuesday morning about President Donald Trump’s tweet last week blasting the news media as “the enemy of the American people.”
But Ros-Lehtinen chose to kick off her first public appearance of the congressional recess by addressing the president’s comments anyway.
“To the members of the press, I want to say thank you,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “You are not the enemy of the American people.”
The row of reporters lined in the wall in front of her at downtown Miami’s Venture Hive, an entrepreneurship accelerator, remained silent. Ros-Lehtinen continued.
“You have a central role in our republic,” said the congresswoman, who was born in Cuba. “We thank you for it — even when you criticize public officials.”
At the White House later, Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked if the president would consider revising his characterization of democracy’s Fourth Estate.
“Certain outlets have gone out of their way to not be completely accurate and fair in their coverage,” Spicer said. “He has a deep respect for the First Amendment, for the role of the press.”