Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks on Thursday refused to condemn President Donald Trump's comment that the "biggest enemy" facing the US is the news media.
Trump -- who had just returned from a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who leads one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth and possesses nuclear weapons -- made the claim on Wednesday, referring to what he believes are negative press reports about the meeting.
On "New Day" Thursday, CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked Brooks about the President's comment and if he agrees with it. Here's the full exchange:
CAMEROTA: Do you think that the press is the greatest enemy of the US?
BROOKS: Well, I'm a conservative and I'm a Republican. Certainly the news media, particularly at the national level, is a challenge for us who hold conservative beliefs. But are they a threat to the national security of the United States?
CAMEROTA: Sure, but the greatest enemy, would you ever call CNN an enemy?
BROOKS: I would call CNN, and most people in the media who have left-leaning bents, a political foe. Because they tend to be aligned with the Democrats, versus the Republicans. So they're a political foe. Would I call them an enemy of our country? That's not the verbiage I would use.
CAMEROTA: I mean I'm just getting to, obviously, that the President tweeted out that, especially, NBC and CNN --
CAMEROTA: -- let me say it. I won't read the whole thing. The media and the press are our country's biggest enemy, 'so easily promulgated by fools.' And you know, the reason that I ask you this, congressman, is just because I remember last year after the tragedy there on the baseball diamond we talked about how we were all going to make an effort to come together and show more unity and build bridges. And I'm just wondering if that kind of language accomplishes that.
BROOKS: Alisyn, I consider you a friend, not an enemy. But when it comes to politics, and I don't know how you vote, but I would expect you're a little bit more liberal than I am from the state of Alabama.
CAMEROTA: How do you know that? And why does it matter? Why does it matter how you vote or how I vote? Why are we enemies if we vote differently? Why do we have to assume things about each other?
BROOKS: To me, enemy is the word that you use when you're talking about a death row kind of combat, OK? Nazi Germany and the United States. Imperialist Japan and the United States.
CAMEROTA: So why does the President use it about CNN and about the press?
BROOKS: I would use it, I would use the term more as a political foe. That's the language that I would tend to feel more comfortable with. It's like the Democrats are on the baseball field. We can be friendly outside the confines of the House floor. And we often are. Even though we vote opposite each other. But clearly, we are political foes in the political arena because we have different belief systems with respect to socialism versus free enterprise, with respect to border security versus open borders.
CAMEROTA: Everybody understands there are differences. I guess I'm just saying are you comfortable with the President calling the press the 'biggest enemy' of the US?
BROOKS: President Trump has a way of using hyperbole in order to achieve strategic advantage. And he has a strategy and thought process behind the words that he uses. And quite frankly, he has been fairly successful at it. So, I'm not one to challenge President Trump in the hyperbole that he uses to achieve the goals he's trying to achieve for our country. It might be different from my style. But obviously his style works. He's President of the United States.
CAMEROTA: Well, do you think it's damaging?
BROOKS: Obviously, his style works. We just had a meeting with North Korea. Who would have thought it a year ago, that peace talks would break out between the United States and North Korea? So, he has a strategy behind the terms that he uses. And it could just be he's a whole lot of smarter than I am with those types of words that I don't use but he does. And we've seen at least success, with respect to North Korea, the beginning of what I hope it will be peace breaking out on the Korean Peninsula in the near future.
CAMEROTA: I understand. But do you think it's damaging to call the free press in the United States the enemy?
BROOKS: I don't think he was using that term in the kind of mortal combat way that some people would perceive it. But in terms of the belief system that the President of the United States has and the -- unfortunately the news media, as you know, you tend to be under a five- or 10-minute news cycle where it used to be 24 hours. When you've got that kind of pressure to scoop your competition, unfortunately, the homework that used to be done say 30, 40 years ago before the advent of the Internet was much more thorough and the news media was much more accurate in the things that they say. Now in the five- 10-minute, hour-long news cycle, the homework is not done and too many mistakes are made. I'm not going to get into this.