Disgraced former President Donald Trump did not just attack Late Night shows and Saturday Night Live on Twitter for mocking him, he attempted to use the Department of Justice and other government agencies to persecute them.
Trump infamously lashed out repeatedly at Saturday Night Live and Late Night hosts such as Jimmy Kimmel for satirizing him. His thin skin and narcissism made it impossible for him to ignore the mockery as past presidents have done. But the Constitution protects satirists and comedians. This did not, however, stop Trump from trying to abuse his power in a scheme to persecute them.
According to a bombshell report by the Daily Beast, Trump wanted to use the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to punish those who mocked him.
According to two people familiar with the matter, Trump had asked advisers and lawyers in early 2019 about what the Federal Communications Commission, the courts systems, and—most confusingly to some Trump lieutenants—the Department of Justice could do to probe or mitigate SNL, Jimmy Kimmel, and other late-night comedy mischief-makers.
In early 2019, Trump had to be repeatedly advised that the ‘equal-time’ rules to which he appeared to refer wouldn’t even apply in this situation, given that late-night shows and NBC sketch comedy are clearly staged satire, and thus not bound by the same requirements of other forms of broadcast TV and radio. The other source, who has a law degree, said that when they briefly discussed this with Trump more than two years ago, they made a point of saying that the Justice Department, in particular, doesn’t handle these matters, anyway.
Trump’s aides ignored his vendetta against Saturday Night Live and the Late Night shows and he would continue to seethe over the mockery throughout his term. One can only imagine what would have happened had Trump managed to win a second term. That’s why he can never be allowed to have one.
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