Donald Trump Thinks the Freedom of the Press Is ‘Disgusting’

This post is periodically updated with new attacks on the media by the president.

Donald Trump has pledged to defend the Constitution — even an article that doesn’t exist — but he can’t seem to lay off that pesky First Amendment.

Trump has mocked the First Amendment’s right to freedom of religion by calling for a ban on Muslims from entering the country and criticized those who believe in the freedom of speech as “foolish people.” He has also endorsed attacks on protesters and the imprisonment of people who burn the flag.

And he has made it very clear that he doesn’t stand for the freedom of the press. As a presidential candidate, Trump told supporters he would “open up our libel laws” to sue journalists. “We’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before,” he promised.

Trump the candidate also blacklisted reporters and entire news outlets from campaign events, referred to journalists as “scum” and “slime,” and mocked a reporter for having a disability. He vowed to sue women who reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault, along with the outlets that covered their accounts, and threatened a lawsuit against a Hispanic journalist group for calling out his bigoted remarks.

"I would never kill them but I do hate them,” he said of reporters. “And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.”

This onslaught didn’t stop once Trump assumed the presidency. From the most powerful perch on the planet, he has continued to wage attacks on the free press, further revealing his authoritarian impulses and disdain for the First Amendment.

Below we provide a running list of attacks that the president has made on the press since assuming office. We’ll keep this list updated since, unfortunately, we don’t expect them to stop.

Trump has:

  1. Praised a violent attack on a reporter by Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte.
     
  2. Presided over a Justice Department investigation in which years' worth of email and phone records belonging to a New York Times reporter were seized in connection with a leak investigation.
     
  3. Threatened to change libel laws to make it easier to sue publishers and news organizations following the release of an unflattering book.
     
  4. Threatened legal action against a journalist and publisher over a book that includes critical statements about him.
     
  5. Demanded the Washington Post fire a reporter over an inaccurate tweet about the crowd size at a Trump rally, which the reporter apologized for and deleted.
     
  6. Urged people to sue ABC News over a retracted report, which Trump claimed caused the stock market to fall and investors to lose money.
     
  7. On the day that Russia enacted restrictions on foreign news outlets, tweeted: “CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!” He then called for a contest between CNN and other outlets, apart from Fox, to see which has “the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me).”
     
  8. Said it is “frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write” in a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
     
  9. Threatened to cancel the broadcast licenses of media companies that offer negative coverage of him.
    Trump Tweet
     
  10. Had the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, call on ESPN to fire Jemele Hill for criticizing him.
     
  11. Tweeted mocking images of him wrestling a CNN reporter and his campaign hitting a CNN reporter with a train.
     
  12. Overseen a Justice Department review of policies for subpoenaing media organizations in an effort to crack down on both whistleblowers and journalists. As of November 2017, investigations of leaks by the department reportedly grew 800 percent under Jeff Sessions.
     
  13. Pledged to “fight the #FakeNews” with a Polish leader hostile to press freedom.
     
  14. Attacked reporters while speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has fostered a climate of violence against journalists.
     
  15. Said that his mission to “drain the swamp” begins “with the Fake News!
    Trump Tweet
     
  16. Reportedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to jail reporters who publish classified information.
     
  17. Tasked his former chief of staff with looking into changing the country’s libel laws.
     
  18. Explored the prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing CIA and State Department materials.
     
  19. Labeled the “fake news” media “the enemy of the people.”
     
  20. Accused the media of lying about his “very nice” conversation with the Australian prime minister. Ultimately, a leaked transcript of the call showed it was Trump who was lying.
     
  21. Urged someone to buy the New York Times to “either run it correctly or let it fold.”
    Trump Tweet

While Trump tries to portray journalists at the “enemies” of Americans, it’s his attacks on the press that amount to an assault on the cornerstone of American democracy: the First Amendment.

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Rebecca

I'm wondering and hoping that the ban on the CDC's "7 words" will be challenged. Beyond the fact that the CDC is a major medical support/ source of information for the country and should not be banned from ANY language, this ban also sets a new standard. The question, what will be banned next? comes to mind.

UARollnGuy

Trump has followed Putin's playbook to the letter-- use the phrase "drain the swamp" before the election, urge violence on protesters and media he doesn't like, and lie almost all the time (because authoritarian rulers can lie and get away with it). The Rethuglicon party was part of the conspiracy with Russia and now seeks to demonize the FBI and Robert Mueller's criminal investigation, even though all the participants are Repubs! Anything to keep illegitimate and unfit Chump in power.

Cesar

We have to protect the human species. Trump abuses his freedom of speech and tries take away other people's freedom of speech. We have a lot of work to do to elevate the power of the people but 2018 is the year of activism. Teach people how to kill with kindness. We don't have to put up with this bully. Volunteer for compassionate leaders. Peace is possible.

Anonymous

What is most terrifying, next to Trump's brinksmanship to inflate his own defense stocks portfolio, is a congress that keeps this menacingly incompetent, oath-violating man in office, endangering the public, intentionally inciting hate crimes, impoverishing further the most vulnerable in the population and sowing division wherever he can.

Brian

Trump doesnt "hate the freedom of the press," he hates an ideologically biased media who picks and chooses the narrative that fits their agenda. Those who believe that Trump is close to becoming a dictator are being dishonest with themselves. Where was this frenzy of dictator doomsayers when Obama was running roughshod over the Constitution with the power of the executive branch agencies? Where were these doom sayers when Obama circumvented the legislative branch over and over?

Twists and grooves

Brian,Byron, boron, moron,
I think everyone who comes to the dance, should know how to, and really want to dance.

Nonaks9

No, Hillary Clinton was NOT recorded on video telling her staff to "Say anything, and see if it sticks!" That's why there was nothing about it mentioned in the mainstream media.

Jay R

Funy, fake news wasn't a problem when he was chasing Obama around for almost 6 years over a birth certificate.

Is this Necessary?

Dear ACLU, Have you looked at your comments here. While Freedom of Speech is vital and should be protected at all costs, not everywhere needs to be a billboard. There is so much animosity and trolling in these comments, that it does not make for positive conversations. People don't have to comment under an article to use their first amendment right to have an opinion about something or even say something about the issue, but having a separation before spilling these thoughts might cause someone to talk to a human, or read something else, or catch someones point before spewing here safely, quietly, anonymously and with little thought or feeling beyond ones own bubble of reality.

CPW

Someone may want to read a book on Malignant Narcissism, and how to handle the person. Here's one that's been recommended,
Rethinking Narcissism by Dr. Craig Malkin. Also, go on line to Quora, which gives a problematic situation (it's true), and then a possible solution. I know first hand how to "deal" with a narcissist, because I was married to one, and my former daughter in law, is one. My poor grandchildren. The older one is competing with his mother. I hope the younger one has the gumption to ignore the bitch.

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