Republican senator Ben Sasse is questioning President Trump’s obligation to honor the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
On Wednesday, Trump attacked network news by calling them fake and suggested television networks should have their licenses revoked. The president took to Twitter to share his thoughts about news media saying, “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked,” he wrote on Twitter. “Not fair to public!”
Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
Late Wednesday, Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse responded to Trump’s statement and also challenged if Trump is recanting his oath of office by not showing regard for the First Amendment.
“Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter,” Sasse said in a statement. He follows by questioning the president’s commitment to the First Amendment. “Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?”
Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment? pic.twitter.com/XLB7QXM3bQ
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 12, 2017
Sasse’s response to Trump’s statement received mixed reactions on social media, but there were many who supported his stance including Florida governor and former presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
Fox News Host Sean Hannity, however, did not agree with Sasse’s question directed at President Trump. “One of the biggest mistakes in my career was supporting Ben Sasse. Just useless,” Hannity said in a tweet on Wednesday.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) October 12, 2017
When it comes to broadcast networks, Trump doesn’t have the authority to revoke the broadcast licenses of networks just because of what they air. Only local broadcast affiliates have licenses, and they have control of how they cover the president.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states, “broadcasters – not the FCC or any other government agency – are responsible for selecting the material that they air. By operation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and because the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from censoring broadcast matter, our role in overseeing program content is very limited.”