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

Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperButtigieg on Harris call to prosecute Trump: DOJ 'should have nothing to do with politics' Buttigieg on Harris call to prosecute Trump: DOJ 'should have nothing to do with politics' Democrats needle Trump with Watergate witness MORE fired back at President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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."