Americans are taking notice of President Donald Trump’s First Amendment violations like never before this week.
The journalist who was arrested earlier this month for trying to as Trump’s health secretary a question is speaking out and delivering his most extensive message since he was released from jail. Reporter Dan Heyman was handcuffed and taken away for attempting to ask Health Secretary Tom Price a question about the administration’s health care reform plans.
Heyman tells the whole story in a new piece published nationally by the Washington Post. The Washington Post reports:
I was arrested last week after asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about the American Health Care Act while he walked toward a meeting in the West Virginia State Capitol. He didn’t respond, so I asked a few more times, holding my phone out to record the reply he didn’t make. The criminal complaint accused me of a misdemeanor — “willful disruption of governmental processes” — and said I was “aggressively breaching the secret service agents.”
I wasn’t. I went to the capitol to do my job and ask a question — not looking for trouble or intending to disrupt some state process. But for asking a question, the capitol police took my phone, handcuffed me, fingerprinted me and sent me off in an orange jumpsuit.
… The day after my arrest, Price commended the police and pointed out that I wasn’t asking my question as part of a news conference. I would have preferred to go to a news conference — ask my one question, sit down and shut up. But Price, like many of the other public officials supporting the AHCA, has been tightly restricting press and public access when he might be asked about health care.
This is a disgusting attack on the First Amendment – Price is wrong to applaud the police, who unnecessarily escalated the situation in this case.
The controversy helps highlight how incompetent the Trump administration is – by arresting this journalist, they actually ended up bringing way more negative attention on themselves than they would have even if Price just gave a bad answer to Heyman’s question.
Read more, from the Washington Post:
I was wearing my press pass and told authorities I was a reporter. If Price had answered my question, I would have written a fairly technical story distributed only in West Virginia. Or if the police officer who arrested me had simply pulled me aside until Price and his entourage had passed, but not taken me into custody, nothing would have come of it. Instead, the story of my arrest has been national news for a week.
… Why has my case resonated so widely? I think part of the reason is because it seems to confirm people’s worst fears about the erosion of a free press. They see public access closed down and journalists held in contempt and antipathy.
Read more, from Liberal Speak’s previous coverage:
President Donald Trump and his administration have launched yet another senseless attack on First Amendment rights in the United States.
A journalist was reportedly detained by law enforcement officials for trying to ask questions to two Trump administrators this past week – Health Secretary Tom Price and White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway. The Trump team members ignored the journalists’ questions about health care reform and shortly after, police officers came to remove him.
This is tyranny. The administration can’t offer honest answers about legitimate policy questions, so they resort to intimidating our watchdogs.
… There have certainly been presidents in our history who had difficult relationships with the press, but nothing like this. Trump has taken it to a new, dangerous level.