Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump doubled down on his promise to open up the country’s libel laws and warned that reporters they will “regret … all of the bad stories they write.”
During a campaign speech in Huntsville, Alabama Sunday, Trump talked about the “heat” he received from the media since saying on Friday he would push to make it easier to sue journalists over “purposely negative and horrible and false articles” about him.
Trump told the crowd in Huntsville, “I said to the press they have to report accurately and if they don’t report accurately, we — all of us — should have the right to sue them, OK? You know what? This has nothing to do with freedom of the press, which I believe in totally,” he said.
“But when they don’t report accurately, we should have the right to sue them to get them to report accurately and also damages, because right now, we have libel laws that don’t mean a thing. I will tell you it’s going to be tougher because they will be tougher on me now. They are so dishonest,” he explained.
Trump complained to his supporters that the media would not report the size of the crowd.
“You’re gonna leave here and you’ll say we had 32,000 people. Thirty-five standing out there — they just don’t allow more than that. And you know what’s gonna happen? You’re gonna read a story tomorrow saying, ‘Donald Trump made a speech before an OK crowd.’ They won’t even say ‘OK.'”
He added, “But here’s the story, when they write inaccurately, we have to have the right to hold them to what they write and if it’s inaccurate we have the right to get damages. Right now we get nothing. They are going to regret, all of them, all of the bad stories they write.”
Trump defended his stance to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday earlier in the day.
“In England, I can tell you it’s very much different and very much easier,” the New York businessman said.
“I think it’s very unfair that The New York Times can write a story that it’s very much false, and they basically told me is false,” he said. “All I want is fairness.”
Trump has threatened and slapped libel and defamation lawsuits on the press and private civilians in the past. He lost a libel suit in 2011 against Timothy O’Brien, author of the 2009 book “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.” Trump accused O’Brien of committing “actual malice” by referencing three anonymous sources who said Trump’s net worth is estimated between $150 million and $250 million.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Trump’s lawyer said it was “proven conclusively” that Trump’s net worth to exceeds $7 billion.
Trump hit Sheena Monin, a Miss USA pageant contestant from Pennsylvania, with a $5 million defamation lawsuit in 2012 after she questioned the integrity of the pageant’s results in a Facebook post.