Jamal Khashoggi And Journalism: Defender Of The Media Is One Role Trump Will Never Play [Opinion]

A journalist living in America, where all people are guaranteed the right to free speech, has allegedly been tortured and killed. This is Trump’s moment to protect the First Amendment. Here’s why he won’t.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting workers and members of his cabinet for a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House October 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A journalist living in America, where all people are guaranteed the right to free speech, has allegedly been tortured and killed. This is Trump’s moment to protect the First Amendment. Here’s why he won’t.

Jamal Khashoggi lived in the United States until October 2 of this year. That’s the day he traveled to Turkey to visit the Saudi Arabian consulate. That’s the day he disappeared.

Up until that day, Khashoggi was like a lot of other Americans. He was a journalist who wrote stories for The Washington Post. He had a girl he wanted to marry. And he had a lot of opinions. As a writer, he was in a position to share them. Sometimes, he shared his opinion about the Saudi royal ruling family.

In America, everyone has the right to share their opinions — even Donald Trump. The president himself was protected by the First Amendment very recently, when a federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought against him by former adult film star and alleged Trump sexual partner Stormy Daniels, as reported by Inquisitr. She sued Trump for defamation based on a tweet he wrote about her.

Yes, here in America, even Donald Trump is allowed to tweet whatever the heck he wants, including insults. And it’s under this umbrella of protection that Jamal Khashoggi also lived as a journalist in the U.S.

It’s under this umbrella that Khashoggi was also reportedly tortured, murdered, and dismembered while inside the consulate of what has been called America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have diplomatic and business ties stretching back 70 years, despite the two very different ideologies that rule both countries.

Now, those ideologies are clashing in a violent and dramatic way. At the center of it all is Donald Trump, President of the United States, whose duty it is to uphold the Constitution… which includes the Bill of Rights.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 08: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on October 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
  Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

Trump isn’t just an unlikely hero. He is an impossible one. Trump has his own contentious past with the media, and has publicly stated that members of the media should be locked up and even have physical violence done to them. He has previously called the media “the enemy of the American people,” according to The Daily Beast.

Now this man is America’s defender of the First Amendment, as he is in the position to determine our diplomatic relationship with Saudi Arabia. He and he alone can choose to let a proposed arms deal with Saudi Arabia come to pass, and and he and he alone can frame the Administration’s dialogue about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

The defender of America’s First Amendment is one role that Trump will never, ever play. He will never be on the side of the American public or American journalists, as he has already proven with his recent comments about Khashoggi. Trump was quick to point out to reporters that Khashoggi was not an American citizen, and he has repeated the story the Saudi royal family has offered about the presumed murder. Trump is standing behind Saudi Arabia’s royal family, not behind American journalists.

The First Amendment right to free speech is what separates America from countries where journalists regularly disappear and get killed, countries where media is controlled by the government and truth-tellers are silenced through torture and murder. America is supposed to be better than this. Donald Trump is supposed to be better than this.

And he’s not.