Tag Archives: Trump libel

Trump and libel

Trump appeared on CNN on 12.01.18 and made the statement that libel laws in the US were a ‘sham and a disgrace’.

Compared with the legislation in Europe related to slander and libel, this is probably objectively not an unreasonable suggestion. It is hard to imagine a British newspaper reporting (as was done with Roy Moore in Alabama) a election candidate as being a ‘child molester’ without the qualification of ‘alleged’, given Mr Moore had not been charged, much less found guilty of,  any such offence.

However, it’s laxity (if such it is)  is driven by the First Amendment to the US constitution, and the tension between defamation and free speech (as indeed in all jurisdictions) is ever present. It is what it is, as far as the US goes.

However, for Donald Trump to make this statement is breathtaking. Here is a man who broke new ground in the primaries with insults to his competitors (including the ‘Crooked Hilary’ label, assigning guilt in an issue on which she had been specifically cleared of any criminal liability),  but has gone on as President to make  multiple accusation of illegal behaviour against individuals and institutions which are presented as facts.

It is Trump, who in demeaning the presidency, who is the ‘sham and disgrace’, by his rash resort to personal insults with anyone who, and any institution which, dares to criticise him.