CNN anchor Jake Tapper had a simple response to President Donald Trump’s remarks about the media on Wednesday: the Constitution.
What did Trump say?
NBC News reported Wednesday morning that Trump shocked national security officials in a July meeting by reportedly saying that he wanted a tenfold increase in the United States’ nuclear arsenal. NBC cited “three officials who were in the room” during the meeting. The report noted that “no such expansion is planned.”
Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to dispute the report, calling it “pure fiction.”
Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a "tenfold" increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1507729522.0
He then asked if it would be “appropriate” to challenge NBC’s “license.”
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1507730144.0
The tweet was criticized by journalists — as well as by liberals and conservatives — as an attack on the First Amendment.
This is not something a president, tasked with defending the First Amendment, should be saying. https://t.co/Qf9wdnAAv9— Billy Hallowell (@Billy Hallowell)1507730479.0
Never, Donny. It's...never. https://t.co/VQsmkGDtLu— Emily Zanotti (@Emily Zanotti)1507739670.0
At no point is it appropriate to undermine the #FirstAmendment, Mr. President. That isn't how freedom of the press… https://t.co/UcWCy5g2Ho— Ed Markey (@Ed Markey)1507732057.0
That would be never. #FirstAmendment https://t.co/Sl5GlnjJDL— Brittany Hughes (@Brittany Hughes)1507732611.0
Direct threat to free and independent media. If this doesn't scare you, you aren't paying attention. https://t.co/PxFTc2hGHv— Chris Cillizza (@Chris Cillizza)1507730348.0
This comes just days after he suggested that the Senate Intelligence Committee should investigate media companies. https://t.co/ntMwtsddhV— Kaitlan Collins (@Kaitlan Collins)1507730393.0
Even if we dismiss as bluster, it's dangerous for prez w/ cult following to suggest silencing unwanted speech is ac… https://t.co/MkMzFFM3it— Philip Klein (@Philip Klein)1507731006.0
The Constitution doesn't allow a president to be an authoritarian. Even if he wants to be. Those bewigged dudes wer… https://t.co/b5AfaLe0Gi— Jay Nordlinger (@Jay Nordlinger)1507744406.0
During remarks at the White House later Wednesday, Trump again disputed the NBC report, saying “right now we have so many nuclear weapons.” He called the report “fake news.”
He reiterated his remarks about the media, arguing, “And it's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it."
President Trump: "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it." pic.twitter.com/gT9FhI94tJ
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 11, 2017
How did Tapper respond?
Tapper opened his program, “The Lead,” Wednesday with a response to the controversy.
“President Trump saying today, ‘It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it,’” he began.
“Well, I have looked into it and you might want to start looking into it too, Mr. President,” Tapper said as he held up a pocket Constitution.
Trump says it's "disgusting" that the press can write whatever they want & people should look into it. So we did. A… https://t.co/AQ6OA6AzH6— The Lead CNN (@The Lead CNN)1507752636.0