WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly denounced the press as “the enemy of the American people,” said Friday journalists “should be free from the fear of being violently attacked,” as he addressed the deadly shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Md.

Trump said the attack on the Capital Gazette, which left five dead and others injured, “shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief.”

“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” he said. He went on to tell the families of the victims: “There are no words to express our sorrow for your loss. Horrible, horrible event, horrible thing happened and you’re suffering.”

The suspect, who had a history of harassing the paper’s journalists, was ordered held on five counts of first-degree murder.

In his remarks, Trump pledged his “eternal support” to those suffering losses and said his government “will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life.”

He did not mention the First Amendment in his statement, delivered at the top of an event celebrating the tax cuts he signed into law last year.

Trump has had a hostile relationship with the press since long before he took office, popularizing the term “fake news” and repeatedly denouncing journalists as “the enemy of the American people.”

Last year, he tweeted out a doctored WWE professional wrestling video clip that depicted him tackling and pummeling an opponent whose head had been covered by a superimposed CNN logo.

Despite his hostile rhetoric, the president is an avid consumer of news and seems to enjoy his frequent interactions with reporters. He has also, at times, praised the press, telling a room of journalists at the annual Gridiron Dinner this year that “there are few professions that I respect more.”