Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy described himself as an "enemy of the people" who supports President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE during an event Tuesday evening, amid a recent escalation in tensions between the White House and the press.
Ruddy was among roughly 30 business leaders who attended a dinner with Trump at his New Jersey golf course on Tuesday. After the president delivered remarks about his administration's economic successes, several guests went around the room and made brief remarks.
Ruddy, a friend of Trump's who runs the conservative website, introduced himself as "an enemy of the people that actually supports Donald J. Trump."
Some in the room laughed at Ruddy's comments, a reference to the latest moniker the president has deployed against the news media.
"Thank you very much, Chris," Trump responded.
Ruddy recently defended Trump's outbursts toward the press, saying he believes it "comes out of emotion" in response to negative coverage.
The president has had a tense relationship with the media since he hit the campaign trail in 2015. He frequently labels coverage he dislikes "fake news" and has threatened to pull press credentials, and the White House last month barred a CNN reporter from covering an open press event.
Trump has recently taken to describing the media as the "enemy of the people," using the label despite the urging of critics who have pointed to potential violence facing the news media after a gunman killed five people at a Maryland newspaper office in June.
The president seemed to escalate his rhetoric on Sunday, when he called reporters "dangerous & sick" in a tweet and claimed they can "cause war!"
White House adviser and Trump's daughter Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah Meadows comes under growing Jan. 6 panel spotlight Tucker Carlson rips Graham over report he told officers to shoot Jan. 6 rioters MORE, White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne ConwayChristie says he was unable to reach Trump on Jan. 6 Watchdog cites 13 Trump officials who violated Hatch Act before 2020 election Ethics watchdog accuses Psaki of violating Hatch Act MORE and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Democrat says he will 'settle' for less aggressive gun control reform 'because that will save lives' Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE (R-S.C.) are among those who have said in the last week they don't believe journalists are the enemy of the people.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has insisted that the administration is committed to a free press, amid repeated criticism for some officials' hostile rhetoric toward journalists.