Trump wages war on the First Amendment

"It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write," Trump tells reporters

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 11, 2017 2:56PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Drew Angerer)
(Getty/Drew Angerer)

President Donald Trump has been on a tear against the First Amendment on Wednesday, triggered in large part by a recent story which said he wanted to increase America's nuclear arsenal.

"It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write," Trump told reporters at a White House meeting.

This comment was chillingly similar to a Trump Twitter rant from earlier on Wednesday morning. In those tweets, the president didn't simply denounce the story (which originated from NBC News) as fake news but actively speculated about ways he could stop the press from writing stories about him that he dislikes.

Trump had also speculated about using government power to regulate media outlets that are critical of him, in a tweet from last week.

In response to Trump's call for possibly revoking NBC News' license, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to publicly denounce any effort to curb speech that is critical of the president.

"Any insinuation that elected officials could use the levers of government to control or censor the news media would represent a startling degradation of the freedom of press," wrote Markey.

He added, "I ask for your commitment to resist the President's request and call on you to publicly refuse to challenge the license of any broadcaster because the President dislikes its coverage."

Back in November, Trump attempted to assuage concerns that he would try to censor journalists by telling The New York Times, "I think you'll be okay. I think you're going to be fine."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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