After a rash of fury by President Trump regarding the press, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska felt the need to remind him of the First Amendment rights he swore to uphold when he took the oath of office back in January.
Sasse issued a statement Wednesday night that read: "Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter. Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?"
The statement was quickly shared by many freedom of the press supporters on Twitter, including Sasse:
Mr. President: Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment? https://t.co/XLB7QXM3bQ— Ben Sasse (@Ben Sasse)1507773831.0
Good question from @BenSasse 👇🏼 https://t.co/MkDSw0ZxTi— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe)1507806371.0
The President's attacks on the media have increased in intensity after NBC News published a story that claimed Rex Tillerson's "moron" comment to national security and Cabinet members came after Trump had asked for the nuclear weapons arsenal to be increased "tenfold." The story prompted Trump to tweet out: "With all of the fake news coming out of NBC and the networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license?"
He doubled down on that sentiment on Wednesday, saying: "Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!"
When pressed Wednesday afternoon about whether he believes there should be limits on freedom of the press, Trump said, "no," before telling reporters, "it is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write." He also stated: "When they make up stories like that, it's just made up … They make up sources," although he didn't have any evidence to back up the blanket statement.
Trump: "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should l… https://t.co/AstLXAwEPH— David Mack (@David Mack)1507745908.0
Given Trump's clear animosity towards news that is unfavorable towards him, many were happy someone was willing to take a stand:
@BenSasse Thank you for taking a clear stand in support of the Constitution @SenSasse. America needs principled leaders like you.— Nate Bell (@Nate Bell)1507775088.0
Many felt like Sasse could do even more:
@BenSasse If you're actually serious, please do something besides this press release. Talk to others on the Hill. Please.— Jason Sterlacci (@Jason Sterlacci)1507773969.0
Though some did feel like Trump has a point:
@BenSasse @guypbenson Senator, by calling out shoddy journalism is he not protecting 1st Amend? NBC spiked one sto… https://t.co/puflkWz8FO— James Hicks 🚒🚑👨🚒 Same on Parler (@James Hicks 🚒🚑👨🚒 Same on Parler)1507782636.0
But Trump's alleged "violation" of his oath could have some unintended consequences:
Hey, @BenSasse, honest question: if Trump continues to behave the way he has over the past week, do you think he should be impeached?— Daniel W. Drezner (@Daniel W. Drezner)1507774664.0
@BenSasse Violating the Oath of Office was cited in the Nixon and Clinton articles of impeachment.— Steven Dennis (@Steven Dennis)1507774959.0
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