Republican senator asks Trump if he's 'recanting oath' over war with press

Sen. Ben Sasse poked Trump over his Wednesday war with NBC and the media.

— -- Donald Trump's ongoing war with the media over "fake news" escalated on Wednesday with the president calling for networks, and specifically NBC, to have their licenses revoked over reporting what he called "pure fiction." And one Republican senator inserted himself in the middle of the fight Wednesday evening.

The White House and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis denied the report.

Trump's threat to pull NBC's license drew Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., into the fight. The centrist Republican Sasse is a frequent right-wing opponent of the president.

Sasse released a statement asking if the president was recanting his oath of office due to his challenge of the First Amendment.

"Mr. President: Words spoken by the President of the United States matter," the brief statement reads. "Are you tonight recanting the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?"

The tweet containing Sasse's question had received about 9,000 retweets and 19,000 likes within the first three hours of posting.

It did not elicit a response from the president.

"Media is bad," Trump said. "They are really dishonest people. Very, very dishonest people in many cases.

"I will say this, you have been so great," Trump told Hannity moments later. "I'm very proud of you. I am a ratings person. Has anyone seen his ratings? What you are doing to your competition is incredible. No. 1 and I'm very proud of you -- an honor to be on your show."