Capitol Hill reporter mocks Menendez over journalist protection bill: 'You threatened to call the police on me'

Capitol Hill reporter mocks Menendez over journalist protection bill: 'You threatened to call the police on me'
© Greg Nash

A Capitol Hill reported mocked Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWe can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Acting Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange MORE, saying the New Jersey Democrat was being hypocritical after the senator and other Democrats reintroduced a bill that would designate "certain attacks on those reporting the news" as federal crimes.

"Remember that time you threatened to call the police on me for asking you if you would vote for the Green New Deal last month? I'm a credentialed reporter," wrote The Daily Caller's Henry Rodgers on Twitter.

"So this applies to me as well, right?" he asked.

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Rodgers was referring to a testy exchange with Menendez in February at a Washington, D.C., Metro station, where the reporter attempted to ask him about the controversial Green New Deal, which had just been introduced.

"Not interested," Menendez said when Rodgers asked if he supported the climate change proposal co-sponsored by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWarren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 Ocasio-Cortez knocks Republican over Kentucky trip: 'GOP thought they could catch us with a bluff' Ocasio-Cortez releases 'Green New Deal' short film MORE (D-N.Y.). "I have nothing to say to The Daily Caller. You’re trash. I won’t answer questions to The Daily Caller, period! You’re trash! Don’t keep harassing me or I’ll call Capitol Police!"

The Daily Caller is considered right-leaning and has been critical of Menendez, who was once indicted on federal corruption charges. The trial ultimately ended in a mistrial and a hung jury.

Rodgers placed audio from the Feb. 13 exchange on YouTube after it occurred.

In a Tuesday statement announcing the reintroduction of Journalist Protection Act, Menendez said the importance of a free press "can't be overstated." He also took the Trump administration to task for "dangerous rhetoric," including the president's multiple references to the media as "the enemy of the people."

"Over 200 years ago, our Founding Fathers had the foresight to recognize the importance of a free press to a fledgling democracy. Now, more than ever, their importance can’t be overstated," the senator said. "Despite the dangerous rhetoric coming from the Trump Administration, and yet another disturbing attack on a journalist covering a MAGA rally, the press is not the enemy of the people.

"A free, and independent press—a strong Fourth Estate—is essential to the American people and our democracy, ensuring an informed public and holding those in power accountable."