Oct 12, 2017, 2:20 AM ET

Republican senator asks Trump if he's 'recanting oath' over war with press

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Donald Trump's ongoing war with the media over "fake news" escalated on Wednesday with the president calling for networks, and specifically NBC, to have their licenses revoked over reporting what he called "pure fiction." And one Republican senator inserted himself in the middle of the fight Wednesday evening.

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Trump took issue with an NBC report which said he had asked Pentagon officials if they could increase nuclear weapons stockpiles "tenfold."

The White House and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis denied the report.

Trump's threat to pull NBC's license drew Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., into the fight. The centrist Republican Sasse is a frequent right-wing opponent of the president.

Sasse released a statement asking if the president was recanting his oath of office due to his challenge of the First Amendment.

"Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter," the brief statement reads. "Are you tonight recanting the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?"

The tweet containing Sasse's question had received about 9,000 retweets and 19,000 likes within the first three hours of posting.

It did not elicit a response from the president.

PHOTO: Senator Ben Sasse on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Senator Ben Sasse on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

Not only Sasse responded to the president's threats, however, with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel firing off two tweets on Wednesday afternoon. The first tweet quoted Trump's threat and read simply "Not how it works" along with a link to the FCC's regulations manual. She also tweeted later, "Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Hope my FCC colleagues can all be on the same page with respect to 1st Amendment."

In the category of "There's always an opposite Trump tweet," the president commended the late disgraced Fox News executive Roger Ailes for not being intimidated by then-President Barack Obama's threats against reporters in a May 2013 tweet.

Trump spoke to Sean Hannity in a wide-ranging interview on Fox News Wednesday night and again attacked the media -- but praised Hannity.

"Media is bad," Trump said. "They are really dishonest people. Very, very dishonest people in many cases.

"I will say this, you have been so great," Trump told Hannity moments later. "I'm very proud of you. I am a ratings person. Has anyone seen his ratings? What you are doing to your competition is incredible. No. 1 and I'm very proud of you -- an honor to be on your show."

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  • center_line

    Trump"Hannity,you are the best.The lobster this week-end at Mar A Lago will be prestine.Come early and we'll do things I haven't showed you yet."

  • Rick Montano

    It use to be in America we had a left a right and a middle. Now it's either extreme right or left. We need to get back to when the left and right disagreed but worked together for the good of the country, not the party.

  • STJ581

    Fox freaks booed John McCain's name during the Trump/Hannity interview (circle j__k). Pathetic.

  • SarcasTex

    Trump considered the oath of office a mere formality, as far as he was concerned, he became emperor and the constitution was an impediment to his desires.

  • Mr. Logical

    "That's actually a change from December, when he tweeted 'The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.'"

    Mark Osborne, that is incorrect. "Strengthen and expand nuclear capability" does NOT in any sense automatically mean an increase in numbers. It nominally means what Trump claims: That he's in favor of the existing arsenal being in top shape.

    Your comment regarding his questioning the press' freedom to report, however, seems a fair assessment.

  • TexasVulcan

    "First amendment? Really? I thought the Bill of Rights started with #2..."

    -- Unknown voice

  • Duane Locsin

    " Media is bad.......They are really dishonest people. Very, very dishonest people in many cases."
    - Donald Trump on Fox News.

    I can understand senior conservative citizens falling for this, what with the onset of dementia and being lied to all the time, but what about the rest of the loyal Fox news viewers and Trump supporters?

    What is their excuse for being so overwhelmingly dumb to the blatant hypocrisy right in their faces?

    The only excuse acceptable is that they accept they are brainwashed with fantasy.

  • Lee Thompson

    I'm not a Republican, but Corker and Sasse have my respect. Thank you both for having courage and principle.
    What a great message from Sasse to Trump!

  • RZC

    This hideous M-POTUS Trump doesn't need to start anymore wars , he is already at war with the citizens of the USA , the free press , the Constitution , THE TRUTH, minorities , most religions , almost all of our signed treaties , many counties ' verbally ' including PR ,the NFL and other sports teams . Sounds like to me he has his plate pretty full , RIGHT Don ? Oh I forgot, now a good part of his own party .
    I truly support the theory that Trump is unfit to govern as the latest poll of 55 % say just that HE IS UNFIT TO GOVERN

  • Trumpisa Liar

    No need to wait for the next Trump/Hannity interview. You can stream Dumb and Dumber on Netflix today!

  • Rascal262

    Sasse and the handful of remaining Reagan Republicans are an endangered species.

  • Red Hawk

    Senator Sasse, thank You

  • Jukka-Emil Vanaja

    Ratings, ratings, ratings... is this how he handles reality? Through the TV, picking the channel that frightens him the least?

  • David

    Trump gone, Pence in? Pence gone, Ryan in? The very reason the electoral college was set up was to avoid having populists in office. Man did that backfire or what?

  • fmd160

    He really needs to update his vocabulary. What he uses now is hyperbole and past disgusting right to gag-worthy.

  • Chuckie1000

    I afraid we are Fuc_ed, because the GOP is not going to react to this idiot until the body bags start coming back. Hopefully they don't let him sling a nuke like he wants to.

  • thinkmore

    Trump couldn't detect an honest person if he had to. He thinks the whole human race is made up of enemies, unworthy of trust.

  • Betty Bloop

    nbc dumped miss universe after trump made his anti-mexican remarks during the campaign, then they cancelled the apprentice this august from which he stood to make about $7million as executive producer and product placements.

  • DL

    Country before party.

    It will be interesting to note the pols who have the moxie.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Although he can't do it he has advocated a high crime against the Nation.

  • 20 Yr Retired Military

    Military: support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic
    Trump: We don't need a first Amendment. It get's in my way...

  • Seán

    Topical Russian Joke: A man was reported to have said: "Nikolay is a moron!" and was arrested by a policeman. "No, sir, I meant not our respected Emperor, but another Nikolay!" - "Don't try to trick me: if you say "moron", you are obviously referring to our tsar!"