'You don't get to tell us what to do': FOX News anchor confronts Reince Priebus over Trump's media criticism

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pressed President Donald Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus to explain why the president characterized the media as the "enemy of the American people."

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Wallace asked Priebus if Trump believes that "a free and independent press is a threat to the country."

Priebus attempted to soften Trump's claim, saying that the president was referring to reports that members of Trump's presidential campaign potentially communicated with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step from Air Force One to attend a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: People listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump applauds his crowd as he holds a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: President Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania Trump during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump smiles a as he holds a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump invites a supporter onstage with him during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: People attend a campaign rally for President Donald Trump at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A supporter awaits the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump for a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for a rally on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: President Donald Trump and Melania Trump are seen during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step from Air Force One as they arrive for a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump hugs a supporter he invited onstage to speak during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump acknowledge supporters during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump invites a supporter onstage with him during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump listens as his wife, First Lady Melania Trump recites the Lord's Prayer during a rally in Melbourne, Florida on February 18, 2017. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: People attend a campaign rally for President Donald Trump at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump addresses a rally at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. / AFP / Gregg Newton (Photo credit should read GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: President Donald Trump is seen during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump addresses a rally at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: A woman shows off her middle fingers as she and others look on at the media during a campaign rally by President Donald Trump at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: President Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania Trump during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: President Donald Trump and Melania Trump are seen during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: President Donald Trump and Melania Trump stand together during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
First Lady Melania Trump salutes the crowd after introducing her husband, US President Donald Trump at the start of a rally at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. / AFP / Gregg Newton (Photo credit should read GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of US President Donald Trump hold signs during a rally on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Herb Planchock waits for the arrival of President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Ken Temple waits for the arrival of President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: People wait for the arrival of President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: People wait for the arrival of President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Gary Snow of Jacksonville, Florida, a supporter of US.President Donald Trump, stages a lone vigil against anti-government protesters during a rally at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017. / AFP / Gregg Newton / Gregg Newton (Photo credit should read GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Billy Mauro waits for the arrival of President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Thousands of supporters of US President Donald Trump form a long queue for a rally at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017. / AFP / Gregg Newton / Gregg Newton (Photo credit should read GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, FL - FEBRUARY 18: Robie Potts waits for the arrival of President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on February 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Florida. President Trump is holding his rally as he continues to try to push his agenda through in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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"There are certain things that are happening in the news that just aren't honest. We're not talking about everyone, Chris. We're not talking about all news. We are talking about something he's termed as fake news," Priebus said.

When the chief of staff dismissed the recent reports about Trump's potential ties to Russia as "total garbage," Wallace pointed out that the president's rhetoric did not have the nuance Priebus was articulating.

"Reince, here's the problem. I don't have any problem with you complaining about an individual story. We sometimes get it wrong, you guys sometimes get it wrong. I don't have any problem with you complaining about bias," Wallace said.

"But the president went a lot further than that. He said that the 'fake media,' not certain stories, the 'fake media,' are an enemy to the country. We don't have a state-run media in this country. That's what they have in dictatorships."

Priebus argued that "other cable stations not necessarily FOX" only briefly covered events like Trump's meetings with foreign leaders and announcement of the president's Supreme Court nominee, saying outlets instead focused on ties between Russia and the Trump campaign "all day long, on every chyron, every seven minutes."

"As soon as it was over, the next twenty hours is all about Russian spies, how no one get's along, how nothing's happening. Give me a break," Priebus said.

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Scenes from President Trump's 2/16 press conference
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Scenes from President Trump's 2/16 press conference
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CNN reporter Jim Acosta (Rear) listens to a question from Fox News Channel reporter John Roberts during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Vice Preisdent Mike Pence (L) and other White House staff and advisors including counselor Kellyanne Conway (R) listen during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (C) laughs along with Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (L) during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Reporters shout questions during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Omarosa (C), White House director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, takes a selfie prior to a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Vice President Mike Pence (L-R), Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Special Assistant Boris Epshteyn (R) all laugh at a response from U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
CNN reporter Jim Acosta asks a question during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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"You don't get to tell us what to do, Reince. You don't get to tell us what to do any more than Barack Obama did. Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time, but I've got to say, he never said we were an enemy of the people," Wallace replied.

After Priebus said he was "surprised" Wallace would forget "all the shots" that Obama took at Fox News, the anchor interjected.

"He took the shots, and we didn't like them, and frankly, we don't like this either. But he never went as far as President Trump has. And that's what's concerning. Because it seems like he crosses a line when he says that we're the enemy of the people," Wallace said.

"I think you should be concerned about mainstream news outlets that are acting like Washington daily gossip magazines," Priebus replied.

Though media criticism was a staple of his presidential campaign, Trump has ratcheted up his attacks on many established outlets, singling out CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times for publishing negative reports about his White House, often relying on anonymous sources.

The president engaged in a kind of meta-criticism of the media during a press conference on Thursday, predicting how some outlets would report on his 75-minute-long screed against many of the journalists in the room.

"I used to give a news conference every day. That's how I won, with news conference, and probably speeches. I certainly didn't win with people listening to you people. But I'm having a good time. Tomorrow they will say 'Donald Trump rants and raves.' I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you people," Trump said.

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