During a Texas campaign rally on Friday, Donald Trump told voters that if he is elected president, he will change libel laws to make it easier to win lawsuits against media outlets.
The Republican presidential candidate raised the issue while complaining that news networks only show his rallies’ crowds on camera if there is a protester. He then turned his attention to the New York Times, which he said is “totally incompetently run.”
“I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible. The New York Times, which is losing a fortune, which is a failing newspaper, which probably won’t be around that much longer, but probably somebody will buy it as a trophy, keep it going for a little longer — I think the New York Times is one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life,” Trump said. “The worst. The worst. The absolute worst.”
And then he complained about the Washington Post.
“I have to tell you I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought the Washington Post to have political influence, and I got to tell you we have a different country than we used to have,” Trump said. “He owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it.”
“That’s not right, and believe me, if I become president, oh do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems,” Trump continued before launching into his plan to alter libel laws.
He said he’s “going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”
“We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when the New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected,” Trump said.
Trump told the media that “we’re gonna have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before.”
Current libel law dictates that public figures can only win a lawsuit against a media outlet if they can prove that the paper published a negative piece with the intention of malice.