Head of WH Correspondents' Association Olivier Knox: "Enemy Of The People" Is Not A Punchline


President of the White House Correspondents’ Association Olivier Knox delivered a somber speech at the 2019 Correspondents’ Dinner, denouncing President Trump for the use of the terms "fake news" and "enemy of the people" to refer to the media.

President Trump skipped this dinner to hold a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

OLIVIER KNOX: I don’t want to dwell on the president. This is not his dinner. It’s ours, and it should stay ours. But I do want to say this. In nearly 23 years as a reporter, I’ve been physically assaulted by Republicans and Democrats, spat on, shoved, had crap thrown at me. I’ve been told by senior administration officials of both parties that I will never work in Washington again.

And there was a brief moment in Afghanistan when I thought a soldier not quite old enough to shave would shoot me dead for the crime of taking a picture inside the presidential palace.

And yet I still separate my career to before February 2017 and what came after. And February 2017 is when the president called us the "enemy of the people." A few days later my son asked me, "Is Donald Trump going to put you in prison?" At the end of a family trip to Mexico, he mused if the president tried to keep me out of the country, at least Uncle Josh is a good lawyer and will get you home.

I’ve had to tell my family not to touch packages on our stoop. My name is on a statement criticizing the president for celebrating a congressman’s criminal assault on a reporter. I’ve had death threats, including one this week. Too many of us have. It shouldn’t need to be said in a room full of people who understand the power of words but fake news and enemies of the people are not punch lines, pet names or presidential. And we should reject politically expedient assaults on the men and women whose hard work makes it possible to hold the powerful to account.

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