Donald Trump alongside text that says Free Press

Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Ahead of the 2024 election, Trump is once again launching attacks on journalists

  • Former President Donald Trump’s campaign appears to have blocked NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard from covering New Hampshire primary events. This latest attempt to remove a reporter from his campaign trail is just one of many such incidents in Trump’s legacy of bullying and attacking members of the press. 

  • Trump has a long history of bashing journalists, and 2024 appears to be no different

    • After questioning Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on her thoughts regarding Trump’s alleged assault of E. Jean Carroll, NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard was reprimanded by the Trump campaign and told he would not be allowed to travel with the campaign to New Hampshire primary events. Trump and Hillyard clashed in March 2023 as well when Hillyard attempted to question Trump on the ongoing Manhattan criminal investigation, spurring Trump to angrily demand the reporter be removed from the interview. [The Guardian, 1/22/24; The Washington Post, 5/2/23
    • Over the course of Trump’s first campaign and presidency, he became notorious for his spiteful attacks against members of the press and “fake news.” A CNN montage of such attacks shows Trump labeling the media as “absolute scum,” the “enemy of the people,” and “disgusting,” among other insults. A study from the Committee to Protect Journalists showed that these sorts of attacks have had wide-ranging consequences, including emboldening foreign leaders to restrict media rights. [The Hill, 6/30/18; VOA, 4/17/20]
  • Trump has subjected journalists to a myriad of insults, calling them “dumb,” “slimeballs,” and “horrid”

    • Trump referred to former CNN political analyst April Ryan as a “loser” and “nasty” after she questioned him regarding claims of voter suppression. He also told her “repeatedly” to sit down and refused to respond to the question. [The Baltimore Sun, 11/9/18]
    • Trump launched a series of personal attacks against MSNBC host Joy Reid, saying that she has “no talent” and “truly doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor needed for success in showbiz.” [Mother Jones, 9/14/19]
    • Trump labeled NBC’s Peter Alexander a “terrible reporter” when Alexander questioned whether he was giving Americans “false hope” by promoting unproven medications for COVID-19. Trump ranted that Alexander was “doing sensationalism” and asked a “nasty question.” [CNN, 3/20/20]
    • Fox News reporter Kristen Fox was ridiculed by Trump for “being so horrid in the way” she asked a question after bringing up lagging COVID-19 test results. Trump instructed Fox that she should say “congratulations, great job” instead. [The Daily Beast, 4/6/20]
    • Trump celebrated when MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi was struck by a rubber bullet while reporting on George Floyd protests, calling it the “most beautiful thing.” [The New York Times, 9/23/20]
    • After an Atlantic piece alleged Trump had cancelled a trip to the WWI Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Paris because it was filled with “losers” and “suckers,” Trump referred to the report’s author Jeffrey Goldberg as a “slimeball.” [BBC, 9/5/20]
    • Trump gleefully implied that journalists who published the Supreme Court’s leaked decision to overturn Roe v. Wade should be subject to incarceration and sexual violence. Attendees at the campaign event cheered as Trump mentioned that these journalists could become the “the bride of another prisoner.” [Rolling Stone, 10/23/22]
    • New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi was denounced by Trump as being a “shaky & unattractive wack job” after she wrote that members of his inner circle were hesitant about his re-election chances. Trump also called her “dumb as a rock.” [The Independent, 12/27/22]
  • Trump has also prevented journalists from attending events over personal vendettas

    • Over the course of Trump’s presidency, he repeatedly pressed for “retaliatory action” to be taken against journalists for “shouting questions” at him and bringing up topics he didn’t approve of. For instance, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins was banned from a White House event after she questioned the president on his relationship with former attorney Michael Cohen. [The Washington Post, 7/25/18, 7/27/18]
    • CNN sued the Trump administration after its White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials were removed over accusations that he had placed his hands on a White House intern who attempted to take away his microphone. Although the administration eventually backed down and reinstated Acosta’s credentials, Trump moved to implement a series of “regulations” for reporters to follow. [The New York Times, 11/13/18, 11/19/18]
    • Trump’s re-election campaign refused to credential Bloomberg reporters after the outlet said it would not “investigate” Michael Bloomberg or other 2020 Democratic candidates. Then-campaign manager Brad Parscale said this would be the policy until Bloomberg News “publicly rescind[ed]” its decision to not investigate. [NBC News, 12/2/19]