President Donald Trump said Wednesday that it is “disgusting” that the news media can write whatever it pleases.
Trump’s remarks came after he was asked in the Oval Office about an NBC report Wednesday that said he requested a tenfold increase in nuclear weapons during a meeting with senior officials. The report said that after this meeting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson remarked that Trump is a “moron.”
The president said this was “fake news” and added, “It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” The First Amendment prohibits government censorship of the press.
Trump said that he doesn’t want to control what the press writes.
“The press should speak more honestly. I’ve seen tremendously dishonest press. It’s not even a question of distortion,” Trump said. “So when they make up stories like that, that’s just made up, and the generals will tell you that. And then they have sources that don’t exist, the don’t exist. They make up the sources. There are no sources.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also said the NBC News story was “absolutely false.”
“This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible,” Mattis said.
Regarding nuclear weapons, Trump said that a tenfold increase would be “totally unnecessary.” An increase in the American nuclear arsenal would violate several international treaties signed by previous presidents.
Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday, “Fake [NBC News] made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!”
“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!” Trump continued on to write.