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Trump: Journalists should be “free from the fear of being violently attacked”

The president responds to the Capital Gazette shooting that left 5 people dead.

President Trump Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Donald Trump addressed the shooting at the Capital Gazette office in brief remarks on Friday, saying “journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked.”

Trump made a brief statement at a White House event about the tax law and referred to Thursday’s fatal shooting of five people at the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland.

“This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief,” Trump said. “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.”

Trump offered condolences to the families of the victims: “We pledge our eternal support. This suffering is so great — I’ve seen some of the people, so great — my government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life.”

On Thursday Trump tweeted that he had been briefed on the shooting and offered his “thoughts and prayers.” After returning to the White House from an event in Wisconsin, he ignored questions from reporters about the rampage, including some about his own attacks on the media. At rallies, Trump has garnered boos and laughs with taunts about “fake news” and has called the press the “enemy of the American people.”

The shooting suspect, Jarrod Ramos, had a longstanding grievance with the newspaper and had tried to sue the paper for defamation. Yet the shooting — one of the deadliest days for journalists in years — arrived as questions of civility dominate the national discussion, and as a climate of anger and threats against the media persists.