If Donald Trump is president, he’d like to make some changes to the First Amendment.
In an interview with WFOR, CBS’ Miami affiliate, Trump was asked if he believes the First Amendment provides “too much protection.”
Trump answered in the affirmative, saying he’d like to change the laws to make it easier to sue media companies. Trump lamented that, under current law, “our press is allowed to say whatever they want.”
He recommended moving to a system like in England where someone who sues a media company has “a good chance of winning.”
Trump has recently threatened to sue the New York Times and the numerous women who say he has sexually assaulted them.
Trump is right that he would have a better chance of prevailing under English law where an allegedly defamatory statement is presumed to be false. There, it is up to the defendant in a libel suit to prove that their statements are true.
But even if U.S. law were more like England’s, Trump might still have difficulty in prevailing against his accusers or the New York Times.
Many of Trump’s accusers have witnesses who can corroborate their stories. The reporter for People Magazine who says she was assaulted by Trump, for example, has six different people supporting her version of events.
English defamation law was also amended in 2013 to add a “public interest” exemption. This change would potentially allow the New York Times to escape liability in England even if they were unable to definitely prove the truth of their reporting.
Despite his advocacy for restricting freedom of speech in the United States, Trump said his is a “tremendous believer of the freedom of the press.”
“Nobody believes it strong than me,” Trump added.