Top Senate Republican distances himself from Trump's media war

Sen. McConnell Speaks During News ConferenceAlex Wong/Getty ImagesWASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 17: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks during a news conference at the Capitol February 17, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

At a press conference on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not see the media as the enemy. His view differs from that of President Donald Trump, who recently called a handful of news organisations the “enemy of the American People.”

“I don’t view you guys as the enemy. I view that you have a job to do,” McConnell told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

The Kentucky senator said that he “expects adversarial questions” from the press. “You rarely disappoint me,” McConnell said.

He added: “I think it’s part of what makes America function … We need a free press and an open press and we certainly have that.”

McConnell made the comments the same day White House chief strategist Steve Bannon repeated his description of the media as the “opposition party” in front of an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington that

When asked for his opinion on the President’s views, McConnell said: “I’m not a fan of all the extra chatter, I’ve been quite candid about that.” McConnell suggested he has offered Trump advice about squashing his Twitter rants, but the senator added, “he’s not interested in my advice on tweeting.”

Trump will address Congress on Tuesday, where McConnell hopes he will offer an “optimistic and uplifting message about where America needs to go.”

McConnell and other Republican lawmakers have faced increasingly hostile crowds at their local town hall meetings of late.

While Trump has claimed on Twitter that the protesters were organised liberals, McConnell conceded that “wherever they came from, we welcome them.”

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