Despite his often contentious relationship with specific reporters and news outlets, President Donald Trump recently signaled support for legislation that honors journalists killed while in pursuit of a story.
Trump signed into law a bill authorizing the construction of a special memorial in Washington, D.C., that would honor fallen journalists.
“Sacrificed their lives to that cause”
The president has faced significant backlash from the press and has earned criticism for harsh rhetoric such as labeling the media the “enemy of the people.”
Nevertheless, he supported the bipartisan House Resolution 3465 — the Fallen Journalist Memorial Act — introduced and sponsored in the House by Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK).
Companion legislation in the Senate was sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH). Congress overwhelmingly passed the measure on Dec. 2 and sent it to the White House for the president’s consideration.
In a White House statement earlier this week, Trump confirmed that he had signed the bill, “which authorizes the Fallen Journalist Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia to commemorate America’s commitment to a free press by honoring journalists who sacrificed their lives to that cause.”
The chairman of the Fallen Journalist Memorial Foundation expressed his gratitude in response to the president’s action.
“One of the pillars of our nation”
“I want to thank my former colleagues in Congress for their support … and commend President Trump for signing the legislation,” David Drier said in a statement.
He went on to assert that the forthcoming memorial “will honor the reporters, photojournalists, producers, editors and others who have died while performing their jobs as journalists.”
According to Drier’s statement, the monument will also serve as evidence “that our country values a free press, honors the sacrifices of journalists and supports the family, friends and colleagues of the fallen.”
As The Hill reported, the legislation had first been introduced last year near the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting in the newsroom of a Maryland newspaper that claimed the lives of five people.
Both senators behind the legislation also issued statements this week, with Cardin writing: “The free media, one of the pillars of our nation, is under attack figuratively and literally across America. Too many, including five innocent souls lost in the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, gave everything they had in defense of democracy, transparency and freedom.”