Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather called President Trump a "threat to our democracy" after his actions Friday banning some media from a press gaggle. He authored a scathing note on his Facebook account and sent it out via Twitter Friday evening.
"The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed," the post began.
The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy. These are the dangers presidents are supposed to protect against, not create.
For all who excused Mr. Trump's rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn't true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption. And now the question is will enough pressure be turned to all those who enable his antics with their tacit encouragement.
Rather goes on to castigate Republicans and even Democrats who have given Trump an "wall of unbending support," saying that "talk is cheap" in reference to those who criticize Trump's action but do nothing about them.
"What are you going to do about it?" He demands. "Do you maintain that an Administration that seeks to subvert the protections of our Constitution is fit to rule unchecked? Or fit to rule at all?"
He concludes by saying it's "gut check time" for everyone in power and for the nation.
The Trump administration conducted a "press gaggle," which is a press conference without a video camera broadcasting, but told some outlets that they would not be allowed to attend, including CNN, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. This elicited much consternation among the media, including Jake Tapper who called the action "un-American." Trump has had a thorny relationship with the media, especially CNN, which he assailed for reporting on his alleged connections to Russia.
Rather was fired from CBS News in 2004 after a controversy over a falsified document he called "fake, but accurate" in an attempt to damage the re-election effort of former President George W. Bush.
At the time of publishing, Rather's Facebook post had more than 44,000 reposts, and more than 3,400 comments.