The US Senate on Thursday passed a resolution by unanimous consent affirming that the media “is not the enemy of the people.”
The move comes amid an initiative led by the Boston Globe editorial board in which more than 350 news organizations published editorials promoting the freedom of the press. The editorials were published in response to President Trump’s repeated verbal attacks on journalists, in which he has called mainstream press organizations “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people.”
The editorial push caused #FreePress to trend on Twitter, and elicited an angry response from Trump.
The resolution was introduced by Democratic US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Democratic US Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York. The measure, though largely symbolic, was passed by the Republican-controlled Senate in a rebuke to the president. The resolution passed by a unanimous voice vote around noon, according to a representative in Schatz’s Washington office. No senators objected to the measure.
In such a vote, the names or numbers of senators voting on each side are not recorded, according to the Senate website.
Schatz said in the statement that the resolution was “an opportunity for us to uphold our oath and make clear that we support liberty and free speech.”
“Every member of Congress has sworn to uphold the Constitution, including the right to the free press,” he said.
Schumer said in a statement that Congress “has a duty protect the press’s first amendment right.”
“We rely on reporters and newscasters to keep our leaders honest, accountable, and always working in the best interest of the American people,” he said. “I truly believe that America always solves its problems and combating dangerous and irresponsible attacks on journalism is no exception.”
Blumenthal said the measure reaffirms “the essential role played by a free press in our democracy.”
“The press’s dogged pursuit of the truth — uncovering and reporting facts, exposing wrongdoing, and holding public officials accountable — has never been more important,” he said. “When we look back at these extraordinary times, I strongly believe that our free press will be recognized as heroes — and I’m proud to stand with them today.”
Read the resolution below.
Annie Linskey and Chris Rowland of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss