President Donald Trump doubled down on his campaign’s decision to sue The New York Times for libel over an opinion piece Wednesday, claiming that the writer’s opinion was “totally wrong” and that there will be more lawsuits coming.
At a news briefing Wednesday night, Brian Karem, Playboy magazine’s White House correspondent and a CNN analyst, brought up the libel suit against the Times over a 2019 opinion article by Max Frankel, former executive editor of the Times. Karem asked the president: “Is it your opinion or is it your contention that if people have an opinion contrary to yours that they should be sued?”
“Well, when they get the opinion totally wrong, as The New York Times did, and, frankly, they’ve got a lot wrong over the last number of years,” Trump said. “So we’ll see how that, let that work its way through the courts.”
“If you read it, you’ll see. It’s beyond an opinion. That’s not an opinion. That’s much more than an opinion,” the president said. “They did a bad thing, and there will be more coming.”
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that a 2019 opinion piece intentionally defames the president by falsely asserting a “quid pro quo” between Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russia.
The Times said Wednesday that it would fight the suit. A spokesperson for the Times, Eileen Murphy, said in a statement that the Trump campaign had “turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable.”
Legal experts have been critical of the lawsuit’s viability. Ted Boutrous, an attorney with a history of representing media organizations in legal disputes with the White House, tweeted that the column was “opinion based on disclosed facts about issues of great public concern relating to the President.”
“The First Amendment unequivocally bars this lawsuit,” Boutrous said.