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. Threatened to change libel laws to make it easier to sue publishers and news organizations following the release of an unflattering book.
     
  2. Threatened legal action against a journalist and publisher over a book that includes critical statements about him.
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. Urged people to sue ABC News over a retracted report, which Trump claimed caused the stock market to fall and investors to lose money.
     
  5. 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).”
     
  6. 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.
     
  7. Threatened to cancel the broadcast licenses of media companies that offer negative coverage of him.
    Trump Tweet
     
  8. Had the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, call on ESPN to fire Jemele Hill for criticizing him.
     
  9. Tweeted mocking images of him wrestling a CNN reporter and his campaign hitting a CNN reporter with a train.
     
  10. 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.
     
  11. Pledged to “fight the #FakeNews” with a Polish leader hostile to press freedom.
     
  12. Attacked reporters while speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has fostered a climate of violence against journalists.
     
  13. Said that his mission to “drain the swamp” begins “with the Fake News!
    Trump Tweet
     
  14. Reportedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to jail reporters who publish classified information.
     
  15. Tasked his former chief of staff with looking into changing the country’s libel laws.
     
  16. Explored the prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing CIA and State Department materials.
     
  17. Labeled the “fake news” media “the enemy of the people.”
     
  18. 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.
     
  19. 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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Anonymous

Freedom of speech includes holding the press accountable, and saying negative things about the press is "Free Speech Covered". Yes! the President does have free speech too, incredible! And he can criticize the press. Those that think the press is the 4th branch of the government need to learn.

Bobert

In a sense I agree with him, that Freedom of Speech occasionally goes to far. I differ from Trimp however in my belief of what kind of speech goes too far. I think Nazi propaganda and racist speech go too far and should be restricted even under the First Amendment. Trump seems to think that speech critical of him or his cronies ought to be restricted.

Anonymous

The press needs to stop being such lying hipocrites

GTFOOH TRUMP!

FAKE PRESIDENT! MAGA... MUELLER = Make America Grateful Again!

Anonymous

All of you need to stop being Republicunts and Democant's , and start being Americans. Christ, watching all of you bickering and whining is pathetic, especially you misinformed, uneducated, Fox news watching morons. True, Hillary is probably a criminal and fixed the 2016 primaries in her favor. Regardless if she is guilty or not, she is a control freak who wants nothing more than tell us how to raise our children. With that said, this waive of Political Correctness streaming through the left is a fucking embarrassment as it is a movement that will impede upon our freedom of speech if it is not quelled.
But don't think you republicans are off the hook, not by a long shot. You blindly follow your party because of dead babies and Jesus, meanwhile throwing our rights as Americans away by enabling politician's who ratify such gems as: National Defense Authorization Act (allows police and military to use weaponized drones in American Skies), Patriot Act (Allows the president to be our king), Anti-Net neutrality (handed our freedom of speech over to a few private corporations), a Muslim Ban (Direct violation of freedom of religion), Jeff Sessions allowing federal prosecutors to pursue Marijuana users who are legalized under state law (Violation of 10th Amendment), Revocation of dreamer's citizenship, just to name a few.
Remember:
"A man who gives up freedom for security deserves neither."
-Ben Franklin
I find it odd how Republicans tend to call out everybody that disagrees with them as un-American or unpatriotic, yet they continue to support people who are destroying the very fabric of what makes us Americans. It's not just unpatriotic to blindly follow these assholes, it's treasonous.

Richard

Thank you, I hope everyone reads your comments. These are very troubling times and we need to hold things together until we can properly identify them. And then take steps to correct them, which means to erase them with whatever solution it takes. I'm sick of all this" you did, you said,you were and you are" crap. If there is proof of any wrong doing then we have agencies that SHOULD stand up and do what they are paid/elected to do. If nothing is done soon then we will all be little robots for these "behind the scenes" narcissistic control scum who think they should have it all because they have the means to take it in time. Sharpen and polish up your pencils it's time to start taking back what they have pilfered from us. Speak out, let your words be heard, take to the streets, don't back down. We are all part of this country, not just a few dangerous organizations.

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