U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i), Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, released the following statement today after President Donald Trump threatened to challenge NBC's broadcast license. The network reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a "moron".
Trump has been on a rampage since NBC News published a pair of reports about a meeting Trump had over the summer. Television licenses are generally given to local stations, not national networks, so the White House would have to challenge a bunch of NBC affiliates to black out the network.
"I am both shocked and disappointed that President Trump today suggested the revocation of a major network's broadcast license because he doesn't like the negative light in which he has been portrayed in their newscasts. Not fair to public!" "Bad for the country!"
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska voiced his concerns by explicitly asking Trump if he had abandoned his oath to protect and defend the Constitution. "Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment?"
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Mr Trump's tweet came in response to a story written by NBC, which said that Mr Trump had sought to increase America's nuclear arsenal tenfold after taking a look at a briefing slide that showed steady reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal since the 1960s. Still, analyst called the threat alarming-and reminiscent of the failed Watergate-era attempts of Richard Nixon's allies to challenge the licenses of TV stations owned by the Washington Post.
For the last day, day and a half or so, Donald Trump has been on Twitter threatening media outlets that are critical of his presidency and of him personally.