President Donald Trump unleashed a tweetstorm on The New York Times and other media outlets Saturday, calling their coverage of his visits to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas in the wake of recent mass shootings there “fake reporting,” according to The Hill.
Trump tweeted that “Maggie Haberman” of the “failing” Times got it wrong when she reported that he was angry that the press didn’t have cameras inside the hospitals he visited, noting that he had kept them out on purpose.
Maggie Haberman of the Failing @nytimes reported that I was annoyed by the lack of cameras inside the hospitals in Dayton & El Paso, when in fact I was the one who stated, very strongly, that I didn’t want the Fake News inside & told my people NOT to let them in. Fake reporting!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2019
The Times published a report by Haberman, Katie Rogers, and Rick Rojas on Friday stating that Trump was frustrated with the press for focusing on his political attacks on opponents rather than on Dayton’s positive reception of his visit. The report also said that Trump “screamed at his aides to begin producing proof that in El Paso people were happy to see him.”
NYT on the defense
The president became unhappy when he saw coverage of a press conference by Dayton Mayor Dan Whaley and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, both Democrats, rather than showing his visit to the area, the Times alleges.
Haberman also said that White House staff privately thought the visits were a “debacle.” For its part, the Times defended the article through a spokesperson, saying their coverage was based on multiple interviews with sources inside the administration.
“We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting, which is based on interviews with three White House and administration officials in addition to many others including families affected by the mass shooting,” the Times stated.
Trump continued attacking the press in his tweets, however, saying, “Never has the press been more inaccurate, unfair or corrupt” and adding that the “unhinged lamestream media…has gone totally crazy.”
The Times article quoted officials from former presidential administrations who said that Trump seemed too focused on himself during the visits, especially when he bragged that people were happy to see him in Dayton and then was caught on camera touting the size of his rallies in El Paso.
A warm welcome
Despite these lapses, however, Trump seems to have been well-received in both cities. Chairman of the El Paso Republican Party Adolpho Telles told the Times that Trump’s visit had been unfairly politicized and he didn’t see anything wrong with how Trump conducted himself, including the thumbs-up he gave to the press.
“The guy is honest,” Telles said. “He says what he’s thinking. I don’t always like the way he puts it, but I know his message.”
It seems that the press’ attempts to pick Trump apart have only led his supporters to dig in harder. But that doesn’t mean the president’s detractors won’t stop trying.