- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2019

President Donald Trump, doing as he does, doing as he always does, took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction and displeasure with a “Saturday Night Live” skit that mocked a recent news conference he held about the border.

And for that, Alec Baldwin, the guy who plays Trump on “SNL,” along with a whole bunch of pundits and media personalities and left-leaning politicians, took Trump to task, declaring oh-so-mightily how they have First Amendment rights, the president of the United States has no right to take away their First Amendment rights and oh, yes, First Amendment, First Amendment, First Amendment.

It’s interesting how the intolerants of the left, who regularly trample and trounce the free speech rights of conservatives, can so speedily find their copy of the First Amendment when it comes to divisive, cutting, biting potshots of this president.

But in so doing, they reveal their utter ignorance of the whole concept of freedom of speech: It runs both ways.

If they have the freedom to express their dissatisfaction with Trump via an “SNL” skit, Trump has his freedom to express his dissatisfaction with the “SNL” skit.



“Nothing funny about tired ‘Saturday Night Live’ on Fake News NBC! Question is,” Trump tweeted, after the show, “how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!”

And a few minutes later, he tweeted this: “THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

So what, right? That’s his opinion. That’s his expression. And honestly, anyone who’s followed politics in the last few years with even the most casual of observances would have to realize: This is classic Trump.

But Democrats, those on the left, tried to make something more of his tweets.

Alec Baldwin, the guy who plays Trump on “SNL,” actually tweeted this: “I wonder if a sitting President exhorting his followers that my role in a TV comedy qualifies me as an enemy of the people constitutes a threat to my safety and that of my family?”

Please. As if Baldwin hasn’t had enough physical altercations with members of the press and public to prove his ability to defend himself from a threat, right?

But how the left does like to jump aboard a political moment and squeeze hard.

“One thing that makes America great,” tweeted California’s Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Ted Lieu, “is that the people can laugh at you without retribution.”

And Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, tweeted this, as USA Today noted: “It’s become commonplace enough in the past two years that it no longer gets much notice. But it’s worth remembering that no other president in decades publicly threatened ‘retribution’ against a television network because it satirized him.”

One has to wonder: Where was Baker all those times Barack Obama publicly attacked Fox News?

“When Obama Went to War on Fox News” is how Newsweek put it, back in July of 2017.

Anyhow, the larger point of this Trump v. “SNL” spat is this: The left regularly uses its free speech rights to call for “resistance” and opposition and rebellion against this administration, going so far as to urge for organized protests against conservatives at their homes, while they eat, while they shop. The left calls that free speech.

But when Trump fires back at the left on Twitter?

That’s called threatening. That’s characterized as an attack on the First Amendment. That’s described as unsafe and intimidating and a plea for violence.

The double standard must stop. Freedom of speech and expression run both ways — these God-given rights cut across all political lines and parties and ideologies.

If “Saturday Night Live” has a right to mock Trump, Trump has a right to slam “Saturday Night Live.” And sorry, Alec Baldwin — that doesn’t make Trump guilty of threatening your family. 

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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