TIME TO STEP UP
At a rally in Billings Montana on September 6, President Trump gave a laughing “atta boy” to Congressman Greg Gianforte for his physical assault on a reporter last year. Let me repeat that. The President lauded someone for assaulting someone.
I am in no way suggesting that it’s worse to assault a reporter than anyone else. Assault is assault. And to pat anyone on the back for doing so is depraved in and of itself. But, having said that, The First Amendment does expressly protect both the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. So the assault on a reporter – motivated by nothing other than the reporter doing his job – is an attack on the First Amendment. Especially in light of documented threats to the media recently, it is particularly appalling.
And what is just as bad, if not worse, is, once again, the impotent silence from members of President Trump’s party. I suspect many of these folks are parents, or have supervised employees. Based on that experience isn’t it fair to say that you can criticize someone’s conduct while still supporting them? Is it good parenting or management to ignore unacceptable behavior? Of course not.
So I don’t understand why Republican Representatives and Senators (with some exceptions) may be reluctant to ever criticize President Trump. They can do it without abandoning tax cuts, regulatory roll backs and Supreme Court choices.
Maybe they’re just busy. So, I will make their lives easier, with this simple form message. Feel free to forward this to your Representative or Senator who can then simply sign at the bottom and forward it on:
Dear President Trump:
As a loyal Republican, I appreciate your efforts to cut taxes, roll back regulations and otherwise advance a conservative agenda. But I am concerned that by your words and actions you seem not to appreciate the value of a free and robust press. As you know, the First Amendment guarantees the right of speech and the press, and both rights are critical to a functioning democracy. Your recent comments at the Billings, Montana rally in which you joked about Representative Greg Gianforte’s assault of a reporter is inconsistent with these values, and unacceptable. We have seen recent episodes of violence and threatened violence against the press, and comments like this will only serve to exacerbate this problem. On behalf of my constituents, I urge to refrain from these comments.
It is time to step up. Silence is acquiescence. It must end.