Donald Trump loves the first amendment. (The biggest, the greatest, the firstest amendment that there is.) We know that, because Trump just told us so, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside of Washington, D.C. “Nobody loves it better than me,” Trump told the cheering audience, suggesting that, like Lenny from Of Mice And Men—or Donald Trump with any woman he finds attractive—he loves freedom of the press so much that he’s just going to hug and kiss it until something tragic inevitably occurs.
Specifically, Trump spoke out against “unnamed sources,” that boogeyman of anonymity that’s filled reportage in the last month—and oh God, we just remembered that it’s only been a month—with news of a highly dysfunctional Trump White House. According to Variety, Trump referenced a story in which “nine people” had confirmed something—presumably, the Washington Post story that forced the resignation of briefly tenured National Security Adviser Mike Flynn—and denied that any such nine people exist.
Anonymous sources are a key part of the Washington information pipeline, allowing reporters to get honest quotes, and politicians to leak information and guide the media, without anybody dramatically immolating their own careers. To be fair, though, Trump has cause to be leery, since he does have firsthand experience of someone inventing an anonymous source in order to confirm their batshit political grandstanding:
Trump promised CPAC that he wouldn’t take all this “fake news” lying down, ending his latest attack on the media with an unpleasant and ominous warning: “It doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people, and we’re going to do something about it,” he declared, to the unsettling cheering of the crowd.
True to his word, the NY Daily News reports that shortly after Trump’s speech, press secretary Sean Spicer skipped his usual daily press briefing today in favor of an informal “gaggle” in his office, one which “CNN, The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, RealClearPolitics, BBC, and the Daily News” were all barred from entering. (The New York Times itself says it, CNN, and Politico were banned, but doesn’t comment on the others.) Reporters from the regular press pool and the major TV networks—most of whom were on Trump’s Twitter list of fake news “enemies of the people” from last week—were all allowed in, where they got to rub elbows with their colleagues from Breitbart and the One America News Network.