The president’s belligerence towards the American free press is well documented at this point. Most recently, following reporting from NBC that he “wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Trump took his attacks on the press and claims of “fake news” to a new extreme. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, he suggested that NBC should have its broadcasting license revoked.
In response to the president suggesting that his administration would take it upon itself to serve as state censors, Nebraska GOP Senator Ben Sasse, who has never been on particularly good terms with Trump, released a statement suggesting that the belligerent businessman is violating his oath of office with his behavior.
His statement is brief and to the point.
The senator wrote:
‘Mr. President: Words spoken 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 1st Amendment?’
The president’s oath of office includes a pledge to “preserve, protect, and defend” the U.S. Constitution, a document which, of course, includes the protections for the free press enshrined in the First Amendment and at the core of U.S. national identity.
What is additionally disturbing, beyond the fact that the president is of the persuasion that he should be able to decide what does and doesn’t get published, is the fact that he has a portion of uninformed Americans behind him.
Considering Trump’s other statements — and his general appearance of cluelessness — the portion of Sasse’s statement where he reminds Trump that “words spoken by the president of the United States matter” is as pressing as the rest of it.
After his initial suggestion on Wednesday that he was open to revoking NBC’s broadcasting license, Trump elaborated his idea ahead of a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, telling reporters:
‘It is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it.’
He just doesn’t get it — you don’t get to be an American president and make those sorts of threats against the media.
Sasse has, as mentioned, long been on poor terms with the president, refusing to back him in the months leading up to the election.
Check out Twitter’s response to his retort to the president below.
Featured Image via Mark Wilson/ Getty Images