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by Elizabeth Nolan Brown
Donald Trump’s reelection campaign says The Washington Post defamed the president. It’s truly the golden era of frivolous defamation suits filed by political figures and groups who wish to quash free speech that doesn’t suit them. (Sigh. Scream.) The latest of these legally dubious—but nonetheless threatening—endeavors comes from the Trump 2020 presidential campaign. After suing The New York Times for alleged libel last month, Donald J. Trump For President Inc. has now filed a complaint against The Washington Post.
In both cases, the president’s people object to opinion pieces that were clearly labeled as such. Op-eds aren’t immune from libel claims. But for something to rise to the level of defamation against a public figure (especially one so thoroughly public and newsworthy as the president of the United States), the item published must not only be false and reputation-damaging; it must issue from an entity that knew it was false and maliciously published it anyway.