Tapper: If Obama threatened broadcasting licenses, there would be 'torches in the street'

Jake Tapper fired back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE’s threats to media organizations, saying the president’s comment about challenging broadcasting licenses “boggles the mind.”

During a panel discussion on CNN’s “The Lead,” Tapper said that if President Obama had threatened to take away networks’ licenses, people would have rioted.


“If President Obama had said that about Fox or Breitbart or whatever, there would have been people with torches in the street,” Tapper said.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that because network news has become “so partisan, distorted and fake,” he would challenge their licenses, in response to unflattering coverage from NBC.

CNN commentator Angela Rye agreed, adding that the suggestion of revoking the licenses of NBC and other media outlets is “yet another example” of Trump not understanding the fundamentals of government.

“Why are you threatening people?” Rye said, addressing Trump. “This is not an authoritarian regime no matter how bad he wants it to be one.”

Trump’s threat prompted a wave of condemnation from both sides of the aisle, with many saying that such a move would violate the First Amendment.

Trump has frequently accused news outlets who cover his administration critically of reporting "fake news."