Senate Dems warn Trump admin shows 'pattern of hostility' to press

Senate Dems warn Trump admin shows 'pattern of hostility' to press
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Two Democratic senators on Friday are warning of a "pattern of hostility" by the Trump administration toward journalists. 

In a letter sent to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, Sens. Tom UdallTom UdallFCC chair: Trump hasn't tried to intervene on Time Warner merger Overnight Finance: GOP divided over welfare cuts in budget | Lawmaker loses M on pharma stock he pitched | Yellen says another financial crisis unlikely in our lifetimes Overnight Regulation: EPA moves to repeal Obama water rule | Labor chief to review overtime rule | Record fine for Google MORE (D-N.M.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) seek answers on why security guards at the FCC reportedly "manhandled" and ejected a reporter from the agency's headquarters on Thursday.

"Yesterday’s incident at the FCC is not an isolated one and seems to be a part of a larger pattern of hostility towards the press characteristic of this administration, which underscores our serious concern," the letter reads.

Udall and Hassan assail the security guard's treatment of CQ Roll Call reporter John Donnelly in the letter.

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"Given the FCC’s role as the primary authority for communications law and its regulatory role with respect to the media, the FCC should set a sterling example when it comes to supporting the First Amendment and freedom of the press for other government entities here in the United States and around the world," the letter reads.

Donnelly was reportedly shadowed by security guards while at FCC headquarters on Thursday before he was pinned against a wall and escorted out of the building for attempting to ask FCC Commissioner Michael O'Reilly a question ahead of a scheduled press conference.

The episode was swiftly condemned by the National Press Club.

"Officials who are fielding the questions don’t have to answer," NPC President Jeff Ballou said in a statement. "But it is completely unacceptable to physically restrain a reporter who has done nothing wrong or force him or her to leave a public building as if a crime had been committed."

“We apologized to Mr. Donnelly more than once and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert today based on several threats,” a spokesman for the FCC told The Hill in an email Thursday.

The Trump administration has maintained a particularly antagonistic relationship with the press, and the president has often disparaged reporters and news outlets directly. President Trump suggested last week that he might cancel daily White House press briefings.