The resolution, which was authored by Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz with the support of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, comes as Trump continues to bash the media for what he considers to be biased and unfair reporting on the many scandals surrounding him, his campaign and his administration, from hush money paid to a porn star to possible collusion with the Russian government.
Hardly a day passes when Trump doesn’t lob an attack attempting to undermine the integrity of the press and rally his base.
Trump and others in his administration often throw out the term “fake news” when they see coverage they don’t agree with or that puts the president or his allies in a bad light.
Schatz was on a flight home to Hawaii and wasn’t available for an immediate interview with Civil Beat about the resolution. But in a statement he said:
We swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, including the First Amendment. Today, every senator upheld that oath by sending a message that we support the First Amendment, and we support the freedom of the press in the face of these attacks.
As Thomas Jefferson put it, “our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
The resolution included a number of quotes from some of the country’s most influential leaders and political figures, including Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and Ronald Reagan.
It also included language from a pair of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that supported a free press, including New York Times v. United States, which allowed the Times and The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers — Vietnam War-era documents.
Schatz’s resolution used strong language of its own, noting that “tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions.”
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