GOP Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) asked if President Trump was recanting his oath to protect the First Amendment after Trump said it was “disgusting” that press could write whatever it wanted and called for the licenses of news networks to be challenged and “if appropriate, revoked.”
“Mr. President: Words spoke by the President of the United States matter. Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?” Sasse said in a statement.
Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment? pic.twitter.com/XLB7QXM3bQ
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 12, 2017
The Presidential Oath of Office vows to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” including the First Amendment’s press freedom guarantee.
President Trump on Wednesday doubled down on his suggestion that the federal government should challenge the broadcast licenses of news networks, saying they have become so “partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked.”
“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked,” he wrote on Twitter. “Not fair to public!”
Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump fired back at an NBC News report that claimed he had asked the Pentagon to dramatically expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal, saying the news network was “bad for country” and threatened to pull NBC’s broadcasting license.
“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!” he tweeted.
Trump added: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”
During an Oval Office meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump told reporters that it is “disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.”
Trump said when asked that he has no plans to seek limits on what the press writes or reports, but his comments have increasingly drawn concern.
“This threat alone could intimidate the press and lead to skewed and unfair reporting,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) warned on Wednesday, following Trump’s comment that NBC’s license should be challenged.
“Not how it works,” tweeted Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Not how it works.
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) October 11, 2017