Trump's defense chief says has no problems with media | Reuters
By Phil Stewart | ABU DHABI ABU DHABI U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday distanced himself from President Donald Trump's assessment of the media as 'the enemy of the American people,' saying during his first trip to the Middle East that he had no problems with the press.Mattis, a retired Marine general seen as one of the most influential voices in Trump's cabinet, did not mention his boss by name
By Phil Stewart
| ABU DHABI
ABU DHABI U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday distanced himself from President Donald Trump's assessment of the media as "the enemy of the American people," saying during his first trip to the Middle East that he had no problems with the press.Mattis, a retired Marine general seen as one of the most influential voices in Trump's cabinet, did not mention his boss by name. But asked about Trump's Tweet on Friday that branded the media as America's enemy, Mattis took a different position entirely."I've had some rather contentious times with the press. But no, the press, as far as I'm concerned, are a constituency that we deal with," he told reporters traveling with him in the United Arab Emirates."And I don't have any issues with the press, myself," Mattis added.Since his Jan. 20 inauguration, Trump has fiercely criticized various news outlets that have reported unflattering revelations of dysfunction or other problems in the White House. He has described them as "lying", "corrupt" and "failing," and late on Friday he said the news media was "the enemy of the American people."
Asked about the latest salvo, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told CBS's "Face the Nation" program, "I think you should take (Trump's Twitter statement) seriously.""Certainly we would never condone violence. But I do think that we condone critical thought," Priebus said, adding the media, in some cases, needed to "get its act together.""HOW DICTATORS GET STARTED"
Mattis spoke after talks with European leaders at a security conference in Munich, Germany, where U.S. Senator John McCain warned that suppressing the free press was "how dictators get started.""If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time," McCain told NBC's "Meet the Press" program on Sunday.On Friday McCain told the Munich forum that the resignation of Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, over his contacts with Russia reflected "disarray" in Washington.
But Mattis played down any concerns about the reshuffling within the administration."Welcome to democracy. It's at times wildly contentious, it's at times quite sporting. But the bottom line is this is the best form of government that we can come up with," he said.Mattis added that the military was very ready to "hold the line" as the political process played out."We don't have any disarray inside the military and that's where my responsibility lies," he said. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay and Andrea Shalal in Munich and Andy Sullivan in Washington; Editing by Mark Potter and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.