Trump, like most authoritarians, believes in free speech as long as he agrees with it.
Last week he said that journalists who refuse to divulge their sources should be raped in prison.
And he repeated the threat at last night’s rally in Ohio Trump. “The leaking from the Supreme Court is unbelievable,” he told his crowd of worshippers. “But you get the information very easily. You tell the reporter who is it … and if the reporter doesn’t want to tell you it’s ‘bye bye.’ The reporter goes to jail. When the reporter learns he’s going to be married to a certain prisoner who’s extremely strong, tough, and mean, he will say, ‘you know, I think I’m going to give you the information.'”
Rolling Stone reports that Trump has been discussing ideas with allies about how the US government “could go about turning his desires — for brutally imprisoning significant numbers of reporters — into reality.”
Several months ago, the former president briefly asked a small gathering of his allies and at least one of his attorneys about what would have to be done to make that authoritarian, First Amendment-shredding vision a norm, according to a source who was present.
“He said other countries do it — the implication being: Well, why not here?” the source recounts.
The other countries here are un-free authoritarian states, the kind for which Trump has long showed admiration. North Korea does not tolerate free expression. China and Russia are well known for jailing journalists. Viktor Orban, the Trump-endorsed autocratic ruler of Hungary, has been targeting reporters, as well. Trump has repeatedly made clear he wants to reshape America into a similarly brutal, fascist state.