Jan. 4, 2018
Hey Tough Guy Trump: Stop Being a Crybaby
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: President Donald Trump is seeking to prevent the release of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” an upcoming book by author Michael Wolff.
Tough Guy Trump should stop being such a crybaby.
President Trump’s lawyers and advisers need to explain to him that part of being a public figure is learning to live with unpleasant criticism, even criticism that you may believe to be untrue and mean. The legal bar for the president, the quintessential public figure, winning a defamation suit is very high, appropriately.
President Trump’s threat of litigation is yet another blow by this administration to our civil liberties and democracy. Wolff and his publisher are unlikely to back down in the face of this threat and will undoubtedly harvest increased sales from the publicity. But other publishers and other reporters may be chilled by the president’s threat from speaking critically.
The power of the presidency is far too great for the president to casually wield threats of defamation suits, and Trump’s action threatens to erode Americans’ fundamental right to criticize those in power, up to and including the president of the United States.