Spicer: Trump is a ‘champion’ of First Amendment

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Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Friday dismissed the idea that Donald Trump would challenge the role of the press, calling the president-elect a “champion of the First Amendment.”

“There is a concern by some in the mainstream media that he has this ability to communicate directly with the American people via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,” Spicer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“But he respects and understands the role of a press in a democracy.”

{mosads}Spicer suggested Trump wouldn’t necessarily stick to the tradition of being “behind the podium” when communicating with the press.

But asked whether the president-elect plans to do daily briefings with the press, Spicer answered, “I think so, maybe.”

“The point we’ve been trying to make through this transition is just because it was done a certain way before, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen,” he added. “We need to sit down with folks in the White House corps; we need to sit down with our team and find out what is the most effective way to communicate.”

Spicer also told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly on Thursday that Trump would continue to use social media as a “direct pipeline” to the public.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asked Spicer on Friday about concerns that Trump wants to “weaken the First Amendment, weaken Sullivan v. New York Times,” a landmark 1964 Supreme Court case that set a high standard for libel.

“Are you saying that isn’t anything that anybody needs to be concerned about?” Scarborough asked.

Spicer insisted Trump would respect and understand the role of the press.

“The difference is that for the first time, a lot of folks haven’t been called out the way they have when their stories have been wrong or when their opinions have gotten in the way of the facts,” he said.

Trump had a contentious relationship with the press during his presidential campaign, repeatedly vowing to “open up” the libel laws in order to sue the media for writing negative stories about him.

“We’re going to open up those libels laws,” Trump said during a rally in February. “So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money.”

Trump has not held a formal press conference since July 27. He and his team frequently slammed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton when she went more than 200 days during the campaign without a press conference.

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