Trump escalates First Amendment threats: ‘It’s disgusting the press can write whatever they want’

President Donald Trump upped his outright assault on the free press Wednesday after already threatening to have NBC’s licenses taken away for publishing a story he called “fake news.”

In response to a story NBC published on Wednesday morning — which cited multiple sources saying Trump wanted to increase the U.S. nuclear arsenal “tenfold,” stunning senior national security officials — Trump questioned whether NBC should be censored and taken off the air — something he alone does not have the power to do.

“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!” Trump tweeted.

He escalated that sentiment later in the day during remarks to the White House press corps, calling the notion of a free press “frankly disgusting.” He echoed previous remarks that the media should be investigated and have its First Amendment protections restricted.

“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it,” Trump said to the media Wednesday.

And he wasn’t done there.

“They make up the sources, there are no sources,” Trump said in the same appearance.

The Trump administration has been incredibly hostile towards the media — freedom of the press being an essential component of a functioning democracy — with former senior advisor Steve Bannon referring to the media as an “opposition party” that should “keep its mouth shut.” Trump himself called the media the “enemy of the American people.”

Trump frequently responds to unflattering coverage of him by dismissing it as “fake news,” which many have equated with a move towards authoritarianism.

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