“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

An Emperor Trump has deemed he will be merciful to the peons of the press.

Ok, I’m being dramatic. Sort of.

Speaking by phone with CNN this morning, GOP nominee Donald Trump put forth the notion that once elected to office, he wouldn’t put the unconstitutional restrictions on the press that he chooses to exert now.

Admittedly, some outlets act as absolute propaganda arms for this Democrat-in-Republican-clothing, more heinously than the mainstream media ever shilled for Obama or other liberal politicians.

Sean Hannity, for instance, is the U.S. version of Iraq’s “Baghdad Bob.”

As reported by USAToday, however, Trump feels justified in controlling the media (another of those things Branch Trumpidians hate in Obama but love in Trump):

“In my case, I’m a person running for office. I rent these large arenas … so I have an option” Trump said about denying access to the media, CNN reports. “When I’m representing the United States, I wouldn’t do that. But I would let people know if somebody’s untruthful.”

The presumptive Republican nominee’s comments follow an announcement on Monday that Trump would no longer grantThe Washington Post press credentials to cover his events.

“I am no fan of President Obama, but to show you how dishonest the phony Washington Post is, they wrote, ‘Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting’ as their headline. Sad!” Trump wrote on Facebook. “Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post,” he continued.

The thing is, pretty much everybody got the same impression. Trump left the door wide open to the alt-right, conspiracy theory nuts. It isn’t the first time, either. Don’t forget that it was Trump who stood on a GOP debate stage and insinuated our last Republican president, George W. Bush, was somehow complicit in the attacks on the World Trade Center, on 9/11.

As to what he said that lit this latest match:

“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. … There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on,” Trump said to Fox & Friends Monday.

“Something” is a loaded word, in this context.

Make no mistake, nobody is as anti-Obama as me, but Trump’s comments were reckless, to say the least.

Also reckless (and dangerous) is his censorship of the media, which, at this point, includes the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Univision, Politico, and the Des Moines Register.

I don’t even care that for most part, these are left-leaning outlets that have been less than favorable to Republican candidates. Suppression of the press is NOT a habit we want to encourage.

“I am… for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.” –Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799. ME 10:78