On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said in a tweet that NBC was producing fake news, asking whether it is time to challenge their license. The tweet was triggered by NBC’s recent news that the president had called for a bigger nuclear arsenal at a meeting with military officials.
In another tweet later that day, Trump added that news networks “have become partisan and distorted,” once again implying that their license may need to be challenged and even revoked by the Federal Communications Commission. This is not the first instance of Trump criticizing the media, calling it “the enemy of the American people” and journalists the “most dishonest” people.
“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and people should want to look into it,” Trump said at the meeting in the White House with the Canadian Prime Minister.
The president’s claims that he never demanded an increase in the nuclear arsenal were corroborated by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said these reports were false and added that “this kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible.”
Trump has been condemned by Democrats for his actions, which they see as an attempt to intimidate journalists and violation of the First Amendment. Senator Ed Markey asked the FCC to “withstand any urges from President Trump to harm the news media and infringe upon the First Amendment. Other Democrats joined, calling the president’s threat “an abuse of power” and saying that this is “not how it works.”
Republicans as well expressed their disagreement with the Trump’s Wednesday tweets. “Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?” said Senator Ben Sasse in a statement.