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President Donald Trump praised the virtues of a “free press” and warned of the damaging impact a “corrupt” press can have on society Friday morning.
Two days after threatening to revoke NBC News’ “license” for fraudulent coverage, Trump retweeted Bill O’Reilly, echoing his supporter’s call for responsible political coverage.
Moments later Trump retweeted another O’Reilly message, this time explicitly addressing his threat to revoke the “license” of what he perceives to be corrupt, politically motivated media outlets.
Trump’s uncharacteristic decision to endorse a message that places limitations on his power, namely O’Reilly’s assurance that he lacks the authority to revoke FCC licensing, is unusual but can be understood as a response to the wave of criticism he received from both sides of the aisle after issuing the threat.
Liberals and conservatives alike pointed out the Constitutional overreach inherent in Trump’s threat to impose selective controls on media outlets based on their editorial bent.
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska voiced his concerns by explicitly asking Trump if he had abandoned his oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
“Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter,” the Republican senator wrote in a statement. “Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment?”