US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly denounced the press as “the enemy of the American people”, says journalists “should be free from the fear of being violently attacked” as he addressed the deadly shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
Trump said the attack on the Capital Gazette, which left five dead and others injured, “shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief”.
“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” Trump said on Friday.
He went on to tell the families of the victims: “There are no words to express our sorrow for your loss. Horrible, horrible event, horrible thing happened and you’re suffering.”
The alleged shooter, who had a history of harassing the paper’s journalists, was ordered held in jail on Friday on five counts of first-degree murder. It was the deadliest attack on journalists in US history.
In his remarks, Trump pledged his “eternal support” to those suffering losses and said his government “will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life”.
He did not mention the First Amendment in his statement, delivered at the top of an event celebrating the tax cuts he signed into law last year.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tweeted statement stood in contrast.
“Journalists tell the stories of our communities, protect democracy, often put their lives on the line just to do their jobs,” Trudeau wrote on Thursday.