Jeff Wagner's 3 Big Things: Trump Press Conference, UW-Madison Students, Florist Refuses Flowers

Jeff Wagner

1. Was the Trump press conference a winner or loser for the President?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Thomas Jefferson railed against newspapers as "polluted vehicles" of falsehood and error. Richard Nixon tangled with reporters in the toxic atmosphere of Watergate, considering them the "enemy." Bill Clinton publicly condemned "purveyors of hatred and division" on the public air waves.

Historians can point to plenty of past presidents who have sparred with the press. But they're hard-pressed to find anything that approaches the all-out attack on the media that President Donald Trump seems intent on escalating at every turn.

"There has never been a kind of holistic jihad against the news media like Trump is executing," said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley. "Trump is determined to beat and bloody the press whenever he finds himself in a hole, and that's unique."

Trump, who has long had an adversarial relationship with the media, opened a 77-minute East Room news conference Thursday by saying he hoped to "get along a little bit better" with the press going forward - "if that's possible."

"Maybe it's not, and that's OK, too," he added.

Clearly, he's fine with that.

2. UW-Madison students demand free tuition for black students. Really?

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The University of Wisconsin-Madison's student government arm is demanding the school give black students free tuition.

The Associated Students Of Madison adopted a resolution Wednesday noting that blacks were legally barred from education during slavery and that the university remains out of reach for students of color.

3. Should a florist be able to refuse to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding?

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a Christian florist who refused to provide floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding broke the state's antidiscrimination law.

Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Richland, Washington, had previously sold the couple flowers and knew they were gay but told them she couldn't provide flowers for their wedding because same-sex marriage was incompatible with her Christian beliefs.

Stutzman argued that she was exercising her First Amendment rights. But the court held that her floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing flowers to a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

Stutzman's lawyers immediately said they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision.

 

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