The Hill — BY MAX GREENWOOD – 10/11/17 10:31 PM EDT
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is questioning whether President Trump’s claim that it’s “disgusting” that the press can “write whatever it wants” suggests that he is reneging on his Oath of Office.
“Mr. President: Words spoke 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 First Amendment?” Sasse said in a statement.
The presidential Oath of Office vows to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” including the First Amendment’s press freedom guarantee.
Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday that it is “disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” He later said he had no plans to curb press freedom, but the comments drew swift criticism from both the left and the right.
The remarks also followed an earlier suggestion that the federal government challenge NBC News’ broadcast license, after the network published a report that Trump had once expressed a desire to increase the United States’ nuclear arsenal “tenfold.” The president denied that he ever voiced interest in doing so.
He doubled down on that remark Wednesday night, tweeting that news networks that report what he deems “fake news” should have their licenses “challenged and, if appropriate, revoked.”
Trump has long had a contentious relationship with the press, and has frequently railed against news outlets that cover his administration critically as “unfair” or “partisan.”