The National Press Club issued a statement condemning Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “anti-press campaign” as “unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.”
This denouncement comes on the heels of Trump threatening to sue The New York Times over their report of sexual assault allegations against him. The Republican presidential nominee has a well documented history of attacking the media, calling outlets and reporters across the spectrum “dishonest,” “neurotic,” “dumb,” and “a waste of time.” Until September, the campaign had a “black list” of press outlets that were not allowed into official events and numerous journalism rights groups have expressed fear and warned that a Trump presidency could do serious damage to the First Amendment. On October 13, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the Republican candidate, calling him “a threat to press freedom unknown in modern history.”
In their statement, National Press Club president Thomas Burr warned that Trump is “backsliding into ugly territory” regarding the press and attacked reporters though “legal or rhetorical intimidation.” Burr urged Trump to “embrace the role of independent journalists in a democratic society.”
Read the National Press Club’s letter in full:
For months The National Press Club has repeatedly expressed concern for U.S. Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump's treatment of our colleagues reporting on the campaign.
After lifting an ill-advised access ban on colleagues who wished to cover Mr. Trump during the primaries, as the Republican nominee he's backsliding into ugly territory.
Following a series of stories from a range of news organizations detailing sexual allegations against him, he's attacked our colleagues either through legal or rhetorical intimidation. The anti-press campaign that he's taken up from the stump has reached such a fever pitch, reporters have had to be escorted by police from Mr. Trump's rallies to ensure their safety.
We find this renewed pattern of journalist intimidation to be unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.
As someone who aspires to be the chief conservator of America's enabling documents, which enshrine freedom of the press, we believe Mr. Trump should embrace the role of independent journalists in a democratic society.