The GOP in Houston (Zuma photo via WSJ)
Donald Trump can dish it out but he can’t take.
In Fort Worth Friday he called for shredding the First Amendment and making it easier for thin-skinned politicians like himself to sue newspapers and others who criticize him by telling the truth.
Apparently with a stroke of his presidential pen or a call on the phone — but not an iPhone because he is boycotting Apple — he plans to “open up libel laws” to make it easier and more profitable to sue the media.
Never mind that the Supreme Court in N.Y. Times v. Sullivan held: “A State cannot, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, award damages to a public official for defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves “actual malice” — that the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false.” But Trump never lets case law or the Constitution get in the way of one of his rants.
Here is a bit of what Trump had to say as reported by Real Clear Politics:
I’ll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible. The New York Times, which is losing a fortune, which is a failing newspaper, which probably won’t be around that much longer, but probably somebody will buy it as a trophy, keep it going for a little longer. But I think The New York Times is one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life. The worst, the worst. The absolute worst. They have an agenda that you wouldn’t believe. And they’re run by incompetent people. They are totally incompetently run. Washington Post, I have to tell you, I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought The Washington Post to have political influence and I got to tell you, we have a different country than we used to have. We have a different — He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.
And one of the things I’m going to do, and this is only going to make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m going to do if I win — and I hope I do and we’re certainly leading — is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me, they’re not protected because I’m not like other people but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws folks and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before. We have many things to do. We have many, many things to do.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, who Trump has threatened to sue for pointing out his utter ignorance on various topics, said in an editorial today: “Ripping the press is old political hat, but it’s not every day that a potential President promises to use government power to punish critics. This follows his attack earlier this week on the Ricketts family of Chicago for donating to a Super Pac that has criticized him. ‘They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!’ he tweeted. Does he plan to sic the IRS on them?”
Trump is little more than a bully who can’t take the insults he is so frequently and vilely dishing out.
Now Trump has been caught in still another lie. He claims he can’t release his “beautiful” tax returns because he is being audited. NPR, among others, checked with various authorities and found there is nothing stopping him from releaseing his IRS form, whether he is being audited or not. Perhaps, he fears the embarrassment of the voters learning he is not such a fabulous and successful businessman after all.
Marco Rubio also caught Trump in being two-faced on immigration. As that WSJ editorial points out, despite his railing about illegal immigrants taking American jobs, he is one of those hiring those illegals.
“According to a New York Times report, some 300 Americans have applied or were referred to work at Mar-a-lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, but 94% were turned down,” the editorial notes. “The resort filled the slots with foreign guest workers. Mr. Trump explained there aren’t enough ‘qualified’ Americans to go around, especially in season, and that without these foreign workers ‘you hurt your business.’ Wait a minute. That’s our argument for immigration reform and more legal immigration. Mr. Trump fails his own immigration test.”
Rubio also challenged Trump on hiring illegal Polish workers for a demolition project in New York and paid a settlement for doing so, but it is under seal. He uses the courts to hide his misdeeds. On stage he just stammered, denied and called everybody in sight liars.
George Will writing in Investor’s Business Daily notes that born-again conservative Trump is really running to the left of Bernie Sanders by promising, without any substance or details, to take care of everybody.
“Donald Trump, unencumbered by any ballast of convictions, would court Bernie Sanders’ disaffected voters with promises to enrich rather than reform the welfare state’s entitlement menu — Trump already says, ‘I am going to take care of everybody’ — and to make America great again by having it cower behind trade barriers,” Will writes.