Hours after the publisher of the New York Times said he warned President Trump that his attacks on news outlets could “lead to violence,” the chief executive went on an anti-media tear, decrying the “dying newspaper industry” and claiming that reporting on the government puts lives “not just journalists, at risk.”
“When the media – driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome – reveals internal deliberations of our government, it truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk,” the president wrote Sunday in a series of tweets from his New Jersey golf resort without offering any specific proof. “Very unpatriotic! Freedom of the press also comes with a responsibility to report the news accurately.”
Trump estimated that 90 percent of the media coverage of his administration is negative, despite what he called “tremendously positive results,” adding that it’s no wonder the media’s polling is at an “all time low!”
“I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” he continued. “No matter how much they try to distract and cover it up, our country is making great progress under my leadership and I will never stop fighting for the American people!”
Trump then decided to pick a fight with two specific publications.
“As an example, the failing New York Times and the Amazon Washington Post do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements – and they will never change!” Trump wrote, referring to the newspaper owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
The president’s Sunday afternoon screed came after he and the Times publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, released contrasting versions of their White House meeting on July 20.
Trump tweeted that they had talked about “the Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People,’” calling it “Sad!”
After the tweet, Sulzberger issued a statement saying he had “told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”
“I told him although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people,’” Sulzberger said. “I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”
Trump didn’t name the particular news stories that were getting under his skin.
On Sunday, the New York Times features a piece about the president’s daughter and top aide Ivanka Trump that pointed out she and her husband Jared Kushner would again serve in a more outward-facing role.
The story includes a joke made by the president — that he “could have had Tom Brady” as a son-in-law. “Instead … I got Jared Kushner,” Trump said, according to five sources who talked to the paper.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Trump’s new Veterans Affairs secretary, Robert Wilkie, planned to reassign some of the president’s political appointees who are working in the agency, because he believes it might help improve morale.