Geraldo Rivera on Friday shamed the media for intentionally twisting President Donald Trump's "animals" comment, saying "it's divisive for the country."
Appearing on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" morning program, Rivera said anyone with half a brain knows that Trump was referring to the brutal gang MS-13 when he called them "animals" earlier this week.
"There's no doubt he was referring to MS-13," said Rivera, himself a longtime journalist.
"This president gets the worst press of any public official I have ever known," Rivera told the Fox panel. "Everything he says, and this is a classic example, is construed in the most evil way possible.
"Even Donald Trump deserves fairness from you people," Rivera said, referring to the media. "And it is divisive for the country to misconstrue his remarks intentionally."
Rivera did, however, use the episode to warn the president against using certain words that invite this kind of distraction.
"Although I still caution about using words like 'animals' and 'thugs' … these things have a possible racial connotation, we should probably stay away from the hot-button words," Rivera said. "Having said that, there's no doubt he was referring to MS-13."
Rivera said despite the president's treatment from the media, his presidency thus far is successful.
"If you divorce yourself from the rhetoric and the shrill language, he is really having a successful presidency, and I wanted to avoid these kinds of controversies because it's just a distraction," Rivera said.
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