Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

An irate Trump fires off a very damp squib

Earlier today, Donald Trump's lawyers fired off an angry letter to The New York Times, demanding that its story about alleged sexual misconduct by Trump be pulled down immediately from its website, and that the Times issue a full retraction and apology.

Such letters are standard first steps in the filing of a libel suit. Indeed, the letter from Trump's lawyer called the story "libel per se" and warned that a refusal to meet Trump's demands “will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies.”

This is of course part of a pattern by Trump, who seems not to understand how our republic works. He doesn't understand how the media can be allowed to say bad things about him. He doesn't understand why his political opponent isn't in prison, an oversight that like any two-bit dictator, he pledges to fix immediately upon taking office. And in a speech yesterday, he demanded to know "Why the hell is Obama allowed to campaign for Hillary Clinton?"

Because he can, Donald.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that the Times quickly rejected Trump's demand for a retraction, apology, etc.. However, you might find its letter explaining that decision informative and not a little entertaining:

As the letter notes, "nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself." The partial recounting of those words and actions makes it pretty clear that in the extremely unlikely event that Trump pursues the case, the Times would just love the chance to put him under oath and explain these and many other incidents through depositions and before a jury.

I also like the closing argument:

"If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight."

It's your play, Mr. Trump.

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.