President Trump on Wednesday said it is “disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write” during remarks from the Oval Office, with Canadian Prime Mininister Justin Trudeu sitting by his side.
Trump was asked about a report from NBC News that claimed he’d sought to dramatically expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Trump called the report “fake news” and said a ten-fold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal would be “totally unnecessary” and that he merely wants U.S. weapons programs to be in “tip top shape.”
“It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write,” Trump said.
Trump’s remarks follow a series of tweets in which he suggested pulling NBC’s broadcasting license.
In recent days Trump has also questioned why the Senate Intelligence Committee is not investigating mainstream news outlets for peddling “fake news.”
The remarks angered the White House press corps. Some conservatives also balked at what appeared to be criticism of the First Amendment.
“This threat alone could intimidate the press and lead to skewed and unfair reporting,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) warned on Wednesday.
He and other Democrats called on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to publicly condemn the president’s words.
“Now, the FCC must show that it is loyal to the law, not the president, and make clear that it rejects this kind of interference,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). said in a statement.
Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), noted that the president does not have the power to pull a broadcasting license.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked the very concept of the United States Constitution’s First Amendment during an angry rant directed at reporters in the Oval Office.
“It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write,” Trump fumed, per reporter Abby Phillip.
Trump on Wednesday morning ratcheted up his attacks on the American media when he threatened to revoke NBC’s broadcasting license after it reported that he wanted a ten-fold increase in the size of America’s nuclear arsenal.
The freedom of the press to write whatever it wants is enshrined in the Constitution’s First Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” the amendment states.
Despite Trump’s apparent hostility toward the First Amendment, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week described the president as “an incredible advocate of the First Amendment.”