Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) discussed the President’s response after an anti-Muslim video provoked widespread riots in Libya and elsewhere, telling radio host Mike Huckabee that Obama “has a general trend of subordinating the constitutional rights.” Obama had released a statement the morning after the violence that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens saying, “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.” Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the importance of free speech in their responses to the violence.
Franks went on to argue that Obama is taking aim at the First Amendment: “I really believe that this administration is moving towards being willing to criminalize certain things that we hold as free speech in America.”
FRANKS: I believe that there is ubiquitous evidence that this administration has a general trend of subordinating the constitutional rights that we hold very dearly as Americans to placate sometimes our enemies who have nothing but derision toward us, and I’m convinced that it is playing out even in the events of recent days. I really believe that this administration is moving towards being willing to criminalize certain things that we hold as free speech in America. [...] When we begin to say that we’re going to potentially criminalize people criticizing a religion, then we are stepping away from the First Amendment and one of the foundations that made America the greatest country in the world.
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Earlier this week, the filmmaker voluntarily agreed for an interview with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, not the Obama administration, and has not been charged with a crime.
Franks has made a habit of accusing Obama of violating the Constitution. Last year, Franks floated the idea of impeaching Obama in an interview with ThinkProgress.