Sounding authoritarian note, Trump calls on Congress to investigate American media

Trump isn't dogwhistling -- he's sounding a fog horn.

President Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd as he hands out supplies  Puerto Rico on Tuesday. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd as he hands out supplies Puerto Rico on Tuesday. (CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump struck an authoritarian note on Thursday morning, urging the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate the American press. His comments come on the heels of the committee’s announcement on Wednesday that its bipartisan investigation into Russia’s efforts to help Trump during last year’s campaign hasn’t reached any conclusions, including about whether the campaign colluded with Russia.

“Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning.

Trump’s tweet also comes the day after he attacked NBC for reporting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron” following the president’s bizarrely political speech to a group of Boy Scouts in late July. Wednesday, on the heels of NBC’s report, Tillerson held a news conference in which he didn’t deny name-calling Trump, but instead said, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.” Tillerson’s non-denial didn’t stop Trump from falsely claiming later in the day that NBC’s report was “totally refuted” and “made up.”

Less that an hour after posting his tweet calling for Congress to investigate the press on Thursday, Trump followed up by tweeting that Tillerson “never threatened to resign.” But NBC never reported that he did — its report claims Tillerson “was on the verge” of stepping down. Trump also noted that there was “[n]o verification from me” ahead of the report’s publication, suggesting that the only real news is that which he personally confirms himself to reporters.

Trump’s call for Congress to investigate the American media comes amid his ongoing battle with NFL players who kneel for the national anthem to protest police brutality and other social injustices. Trump — who as president is sworn to uphold the Constitution, including free speech rights — has been pushing for the NFL to adopt a rule punishing players who don’t stand “with respect” while the anthem is played.