Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., is questioning whether President Trump is still committed to preserving the First Amendment after he repeatedly floated retribution against the media for publishing stories he doesn't like.
"Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter. Are you tonight recanting of the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?" Sasse said in a statement Wednesday night.
Trump rebuked NBC News Wednesday during a press conference, saying, "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write." That was in response to a report about him once saying he wanted to buff up the U.S. nuclear arsenal tenfold.
Trump echoed similar disdain and also retaliatory threats on Twitter, suggesting Wednesday evening a challenge to or removal of broadcast licenses of news networks that he deems "fake news."
"With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!" he said on Wednesday.
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
Experts are skeptical Trump even has the power to do this, as broadcast networks are handed out by the Federal Communications Commission to local TV stations and not nation-wide ones like NBC.
Meanwhile Democrats have called on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to publicly disavow Trump's statements.