Staff Writer Jax Gay
President Trump said Wednesday he will take a “strong look” at the nation’s libel laws following the publication of Michael Wolff’s book that paints a chaotic and dysfunctional picture of his presidency.
Speaking from a prepared statement before a Cabinet meeting, Trump blasted the current laws as “sham and a disgrace.”
“Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values and American fairness,” he told reporters. “We're going to take a very, very strong look at that.”
Trump said he wants people who are the subject of false claims to have “meaningful recourse in our courts.”
The comments are Trump's latest response to the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which has engulfed his administration in controversy in the first days of the New Year.
The president sought to use an unusually public negotiating session with lawmakers on immigration Tuesday to seize political momentum and rebut the book’s claim that he is ill-quipped to occupy the Oval Office.
Trump also took aim at the libel laws when asked about the book over the weekend at Camp David, saying it “would be very helpful” to have tougher laws to push back against the book.
“The libel laws are very weak in this country,” he told reporters. “If they were strong, it would be very helpful. You wouldn’t have things like that happen where you can say whatever comes to your head.”
Trump’s lawyer threatened to sue the author and the publisher of the book to stop its release, but its publication was in fact moved forward in the face of huge demand.
Trump has floated changes to libel statutes in response to negative media coverage in the past, saying in October that it's "disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write."