It isn’t a secret that Donald Trump hasn’t hesitated in criticizing news anchors. As a private citizen, that’s troubling. As a presidential candidate, that’s unacceptable. Criticizing the media is what dictators do. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota recently said that Trump’s criticisms have had a chilling effect on her. This isn’t a new subject for people that respect the First Amendment. This article, for instance, talked about Mr. Trump’s tyrannical tendencies.
Ms. Camerota said “Donald Trump continues to call Megyn Kelly names, he continues to tweet out, this is what he does, to journalists he isn’t happy with. It is troubling, and of course, we’ve talked about this. It does have a chilling effect, ’cause you do watch your words more. You don’t want all of his Twitter followers to come at you with that Twitter hate.”
Ms. Camerota once was Megyn Kelly’s colleague at Fox. Ms. Camerota knows Ms. Kelly isn’t a shrinking violet when it comes to attacks. Still, Ms. Camerota is right in highlighting Mr. Trump’s behavior. A President Trump likely wouldn’t hesitate in punishing news organizations that wrote negative articles about him. That’s what the First Amendment was created to protect against.
It’s impossible to take a candidate seriously when he’s unwilling to live up to the Presidential Oath of Office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
One of the affirmative responsibilities in defending “the Constitution of the United States” is to not chill political speech. Trump’s argument is likely to be that he should be able to defend himself. That’s true to an extent. The minute that POTUS (President Of The United States) starts to unleash his supporters on Twitter against the media who cover him, he’s violated his oath of office because those threats have a chilling effect on political speech.
The Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that political speech was the most protected form of free speech because they’d watched England’s kings silence their critics. It’s pretty straightforward. If Mr. Trump feels the need to lash out at the people of the United States, then he isn’t fit to be president. If he can’t take criticism, then he should stay in private industry.
Historically, presidents have taken lots of slings and arrows. They’ve often been unfairly accused. That’s part of the job description. It isn’t fair but life isn’t fair. If Mr. Trump can’t handle that, then he should end his campaign immediately. He won’t do that, of course. Still, honorable people shouldn’t see the highest office in the land if they predisposed to intimidating the press.