Donald Trump threatened on Friday to change America’s libel laws to make it easier to sue media companies.
Trump told the press that if he becomes president, then he would rewrite US libel laws so people can “sue you like you’d never get sued before.”
Trump was speaking at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas. The Republican presidential frontrunner had just gone on a rant about how cameras at his rallies point only to his crowds when there’s a protester causing trouble.
“The only way we can get the cameras turned … is if there’s a protester, because that’s a bad thing, right?” Trump asked. “I’m going to develop my own protesters,” he continued.
He then slammed the media in general.
“I’ll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met,” Trump said to cheers.
They’re terrible. The New York Times — which is losing a fortune, which is a failing newspaper, which probably won’t be along for that much longer — … is one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life. The worst.
Trump also said that The Times is “run by incompetent people” and has “an agenda that you wouldn’t believe.” He criticized the newspaper earlier this week after it ran a special report that concluded that the real-estate mogul didn’t have as much influence in New York City as he led people to believe.
Trump further attacked Jeff Bezos, the CEO of online retailer Amazon, who owns The Washington Post.
“I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought The Washington Post to have political influence and, I got to tell you, we have a different country than we used to have,” Trump said.
“He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right,” he added.
Trump then started discussing libel laws. The billionaire businessman has issued a number of legal threats to reporters and others throughout the years, though in the US it is difficult for public figures to sue the media for libel unless they can prove malice.
“Believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems,” Trump said of the media. “They’re going to have such problems.”
I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. … So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace — or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons — write a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.
With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money, I’m not taking their money.