Think of all the vitriol that Donald Trump has spewed from early in the presidential campaign to now, the start of his second hundred days in office. Now think of the U.S. Constitution, and the section of it that best represents the ideals it was built on.
No, not that one, Mr. LaPierre. The one before it. The First Amendment.
The one that guarantees all Americans the freedom of speech, which includes the freedom to worship, assemble and protest, and perhaps most important: freedom of the press to challenge both those in power and those seeking to rise to it.
Now consider the threat Trump made to that cherished amendment in February of last year, when the news media were starting to challenge his Alternative Facts with actual ones. Grab a sweater and note the chilling effect of his words.
It’s been argued that one reason voters elected Trump in spite of his rhetoric is that we didn’t take much of it seriously. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that he’s at least tried to follow through on even the worst of his threats, like repealing ObamaCare and banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
So it should come as no surprise that Trump has held on to his vision of a presidency free of challenge by the “fake news” media. Here’s White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus Sunday on ABC’s This Week with Jonathan Karl.
Sigh of relief … maybe. It sounds as though Priebus at least suspects that such a move to stifle the press would be unconstitutional. But that doesn’t mean that America’s Megalomaniac-in-Chief won’t try it anyway — with a Supreme Court that could be poised to back him up. Stay tuned.