Dem invokes Trump in pushing for bill to protect journalists

Dem invokes Trump in pushing for bill to protect journalists
© Greg Nash

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellDem on Putin coming to US: 'You don't invite the burglar to dinner' Intel Dem: Trump sending McFaul to Russia could be grounds for impeachment Former top Dem: Not every candidate should run on impeaching Trump MORE (D-Calif.) pushed for his new bill to protect journalists during an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, saying the legislation was important as President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE continues to attack the media.

"I really wish I didn't have to introduce this, but we have seen rhetoric from the president declaring the media as the 'enemy of the state,' " Swalwell said.

Trump has lashed out at the media during his campaign as well as his administration, including his “Fake News Awards” last month.

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Swalwell introduced his bill, titled the Journalist Protection Act, earlier this month. It would make it a federal crime to purposely cause bodily injury to a journalist or intimidate journalists to prevent them from doing their job.

The Democrat used the example of Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteHammond pardons raise fears of emboldened anti-government extremists Top Montana Democrat seeking ethics investigation into GOP rep over assault on reporter Freshman lawmakers introduce congressional term limits proposal MORE (R-Mont.), who pleaded guilty to body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the day before he won the Montana special election last year, as a motivator for passing the bill.

"I'm afraid that many journalists will continue to come under attack, and I want to make sure that if its politically unpopular in a particular part of the country to prosecute someone who abuses a journalist that there's a federal backstop," Swalwell said Sunday.

However, he noted that his bill won’t stop anyone from criticizing the press as Trump has.

"Donald Trump can go along his way and continue to declare the press 'the enemy of the state.' That's not good for democracy, but that wouldn't be a crime here,” Swalwell said.