POLITICS
03/30/2017 11:09 am ET Updated Mar 30, 2017

Donald Trump Revives Call To 'Change Libel Laws'

The president's war with the media continues.

President Donald Trump tweeted another attack against The New York Times and called for libel laws to be changed.

Trump cited a John Crudele opinion piece that the New York Post published earlier this week that argued the Times’ “ongoing dishonesty” helps the president. The president tweeted the same story two days ago in a different attack on the Times.

This is the first time Trump has suggested a change to libel laws since entering the White House.

He said during the campaign that if elected, he would “open up our libel laws, so when [newspapers] write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” Trump has no power to “open up” libel laws, which are regulated at the state level, not the federal level.

Perhaps the president wants to amend the First Amendment, which stands as a bulwark for freedom of the press, but he can’t do that on his own either. That might explain why he has never followed through with his promises time and again to sue the Times — and legal experts across the spectrum have agreed that he stood little chance in court when he wanted to do so over the publication of his 1995 tax returns.

Trump regularly criticized the press during his campaign, and has continued to do so as president. In a February press conference, Trump attacked the “out of control” media, following up that argument by tweeting that news organizations are “the enemy of the American People.”

Many people condemned Trump’s attacks on the press, including former President George W. Bush, who argued the media is “indispensable to democracy.”

“It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press if we’re not willing to have one ourselves,” Bush said.

HuffPost

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