President Donald Trump said Saturday that two Washington Post reporters should not be allowed on White House grounds over what he called false reporting on his administration’s accomplishments.
In an early morning tweet, Trump called reporters Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker “nasty lightweight reporters” who have published “DISGUSTING & FAKE” news.
Trump was seemingly triggered by a Sept. 1 report in which Parker and Rucker wrote the White House had experienced “a lost summer” in terms of legislative accomplishments. Instead, the White House was “defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities,” they wrote.
Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron responded to Trump’s tweet, saying that the paper stands behind Parker and Rucker’s work.
“The president’s statement fits into a pattern of seeking to denigrate and intimidate the press,” he said in a statement.
“It’s unwarranted and dangerous, and it represents a threat to a free press in this country.”
Numerous journalists also jumped to Rucker and Parker’s defense.
The Washington Post’s @PhilipRucker (Mr. Off the Record) & @AshleyRParker, two nasty lightweight reporters, shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House because their reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE. Also, add the appointment of MANY Federal Judges this Summer! https://t.co/7d33tzKxXq
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley responded to the Post story on Thursday in an op-ed at The Washington Examiner. In the piece, they said that the reporters failed to acknowledge Trump’s accomplishments meeting with Kim Jong Un and his executive order erasing student loan debt for disabled veterans.
“Two of its writers published an opinion article they claimed was news but that instead pushed their own personal political narrative that President Trump had a ‘lost summer’ of squandered opportunities and few accomplishments,” wrote Grisham and Gidley. (RELATED: ‘It’s Absolutely False’: Trump Fires Back At Report He Thinks Tiffany Is Overweight)
It is unclear from Trump’s tweet why he referred to Rucker as “Mr. Off the Record.” It could be a reference to an incident last month that led to the resignation of Madeleine Westerhout, Trump’s executive secretary at the White House. Arthur Schwartz, a close associate of Donald Trump Jr., tweeted Aug. 29 that Westerhout had provided information “off the record” to Rucker during a dinner conversation in which she shared personal details of Trump’s family.
The Trump White House has had several other high-profile battles with reporters. Last week, a federal judge ordered the White House to restore press credentials to Brian Karem, a Playboy correspondent and CNN analyst who had his pass revoked Aug. 16 after a Rose Garden incident with Sebastian Gorka.
In November, then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders barred CNN reporter Jim Acosta from the White House after he tussled with a White House aide over a microphone while questioning the president. A federal judge ruled in a favor of Acosta in a lawsuit over his White House access.
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