SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump went too far in calling news reporters the “enemies of the people” Sen. Orrin Hatch suggested Tuesday in an essay about tolerance.
The retiring Utah Republican also defends the Colorado cakeshop owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in the op-ed that appears online for Time.
Though he doesn't mention Trump by name, Hatch, one of the president's staunchest supporters, said conservatives have every right to decry journalistic bias.
"But we go too far when we call reporters 'the enemy of the people' in an effort to delegitimize the news establishment as a whole. One botched story doth not a media conspiracy make. While portraying the press as a bogeyman might score short-term political points, it does lasting damage to our democracy," he said.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the media during his presidency and called the press the "enemy of the people."
Hatch said tolerance has become a tool of convenience — expedient only insofar as it protects the people and principles we already agree with.
"Beyond that, it becomes a nuisance. That’s why, on both the left and the right, we are quick to demand tolerance but loath to extend it to others," he wrote.
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips made thousand of enemies overnight when he declined on religious grounds to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
"For the crime of following his conscience, Phillips was labeled a 'bigot,' a 'hatemonger' and even a 'Nazi' by progressives who, in the same breath, claimed to champion inclusivity and understanding," Hatch said.
Phillips' case went all the way to U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed to respect his religious rights.
"But the damage to his reputation had already been done," Hatch wrote. "A good man’s character had been tarnished, his business nearly destroyed — and all of this in the name of … tolerance?"
Hatch said Phillips' story shows the popular understanding of tolerance is deeply flawed. "All too often," he said, "tolerance is used to justify intolerance, as Phillips and his family experienced firsthand."
Pluralism, which seeks to accommodate different conceptions of the good rather than pitting them against each other, is the way out of polarization, Hatch said.
The senator cited Utah's 2015 anti-discrimination law that strengthened religious freedoms and offered housing and workplace protections for the LGBTQ community as an example.
The legislation, Hatch said, satisfied the demands of both liberty and equality, without favoring one over the other.