President Trump‘s rhetoric went to a dangerous place this Thursday during the Social Media Summit at the White House, when he suggested that free speech does not apply to the media when they write negative stories about him.
During his remarks, Trump claimed that he had talked to the heads of social media and tech platforms, claiming that they’re not doing their part to reel in the alleged targeted censorship of conservatives. Then Trump delved into the subject of free speech, saying that it doesn’t apply in certain instances when it comes to the “mainstream media.”
“And we don’t want to stifle anything, we certainly don’t want to stifle free speech. But that’s no longer free speech,” Trump said. “See I don’t think that the mainstream media is free speech either, because it’s so crooked, it’s so dishonest.”
“So to me, free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad, to me that’s very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it,” he added. “But that’s not free speech.”
TRUMP on social media execs: “They’re not using what we gave them fairly & they have to do that…I don’t think the mainstream media is free speech either…free speech is not when you see something good & then you purposely write something bad…that’s very dangerous speech” 😳 pic.twitter.com/BtT8dN2P9M
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 11, 2019
Trump then returned to attacking one of his favorite media targets, CNN, saying that they’ve turned the term “fake news” around to benefit themselves.
“The worst fakers of all,” he said, referring to the network.
“We’re just not going to allow it to happen like this,” he said, returning to the subject of free speech. “We’re not going to be silenced.”
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s words sparked a backlash on social media.
The creepiest comment came when Trump said that any mainstream media that he thinks are biased against him are not protected by free speech.
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) July 11, 2019
Trump doesn’t believe in balanced budgets. He doesn’t believe in the Constitution. He doesn’t believe in the rule of law. He doesn’t believe Russia interfered. He doesn’t believe in the truth. And this piece by @Zigmanfreud makes clear that Trump doesn’t believe in free speech. https://t.co/E35WkOp9UT
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 12, 2019
Trump was literally just found in court to have violated the free speech of dissenters on social media. pic.twitter.com/fHle4NVTaZ
— Jesse Lee (@JesseCharlesLee) July 11, 2019
The video, with context, does not make Trump's incoherent free speech comment better. It makes it much worse.https://t.co/U0i7Pu6fZ1
— 1000/24thHat (@Popehat) July 11, 2019
Featured image via screen grab/Mediaite