Trump CNN Attack: Leading Republican Denounces Trump 'Weaponizing Distrust'

Bill Kristol, the conservative commentator and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, compared Trump's actions to behavior that caused the fall of the Roman Empire

Trump receives bipartisan criticism for his tweet 'beating up' CNN
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U.S. president Donald Trump twitter attack on CNN resulted in his criticism rising to a new level of vitriol and bipartisanship as was denounced by CNN, widely on social media and even by fellow Republicans.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he is troubled by President Donald Trump's latest attacks on the news media because he is concerned about the danger of "weaponizing distrust," which can harm the freedoms that define a democracy.

"There's an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage and the right that citizens have to argue about that and complain about that and trying to weaponize distrust," Sasse said in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union."

Ben Sasse full 'State of the Union' interview CNN

"It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters," CNN said in a statement.

"Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is instead involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office," CNN said.

Trump leaves later this week for a trip to Poland and Germany, where he will attend a meeting of Group of 20 leaders including the Russian president.

White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Thomas Bossert said the tweet was not a threat.

"I think that no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don't,” Bossert said on the ABC program "This Week."

"But I do think that he's beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to," Bossert said.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a group that advocates for journalists' rights, condemned the president's tweet and said it "glorified physical violence against members of the press."

Bill Kristol, the conservative commentator and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, compared Trump's actions to behavior that caused the fall of the Roman Empire.

"The speed with which we're recapitulating the decline and fall of Rome is impressive. What took Rome centuries we're achieving in months," Kristol wrote in a Tweet.

Trump's Sunday tweet followed his scathing and highly personal Twitter attack on two MSNBC anchors last week, which drew condemnation from Republicans, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, and Democrats alike.

Trump, who is spending a long weekend at his property in Bedminster, New Jersey, took to Twitter on Saturday to call the media "fake" and "fraudulent."

At an event honoring veterans at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Saturday evening, he told the crowd that the media had tried to stop him from coming to the White House.

"But I'm president, and they're not," he said.