This weekend, President Donald Trump again took his antagonism of members of the media to a new, intense level, claiming that two journalists working for The Washington Post are so “disgusting” that they shouldn’t even be allowed on the White House grounds. (So says the man known for things like having sex with an adult film star while his wife was at home with their newborn child.) The Post‘s Executive Editor Martin Baron has now denounced the president’s targeting of Post reporters, insisting that the paper stands by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker and that Trump dragging their names through the mud constitutes an attack on the press they will not stand for.
‘The Washington Post is immensely proud to have these two superb journalists on staff. Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker have consistently demonstrated their integrity in covering the White House. We stand fully behind them and their important work. The president’s statement fits into a pattern of seeking to denigrate and intimidate the press. It’s unwarranted and dangerous, and it represents a threat to a free press in this country.’
Trump had originally tweeted his threat to ban Rucker and Parker from the White House earlier that Saturday morning, ranting:
‘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!’
He was up in arms over a piece the pair of them co-authored painting a portrait of what to some Republicans close to the White House amounted to a “lost summer defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities.” In response elsewhere, figures like White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham insisted that The Post should have covered developments like Trump’s historic steps into North Korean territory, the first such trip taken by any American president. The problem with Grisham pointing to that is that The Post did cover that, among many other of the supposedly so overwhelmingly positive aspects of the Trump administration.
The publication’s communications director Shani George noted that the story itself even noted some of the administration’s summer accomplishments, sharing:
‘Our story prominently noted the White House’s list of accomplishments and quoted a White House spokesman at length. It also reported the views of Republicans, both on the record and on background, some of whom are part of the administration and some who watch its performance from a distance. Readers can judge for themselves whether our account fairly represented a variety of perspectives on the President’s summer.’
Trump doesn’t want to let anyone else decide any aspect of this situation; he wants to convince us there’s a nefarious conspiracy against him. The president and his allies have continued their ranting, refusing to let even a slight challenge to their position go without response. Don’t they have things to be doing besides obsessing over well-supported articles in major newspapers that describe something other than sunshine and fairy tales inside the White House?
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