President Donald Trump on Saturday took aim at two Washington Post reporters, saying they “shouldn’t even be allowed” at the White House following a story critical of the administration’s record.
“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,” the president tweeted at 7:09 a.m.
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The tweet linked to an op-ed by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham and Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley rebutting a Washington Post story published earlier this week that highlighted the president’s missteps amid the administration’s policy stumbles over the summer. But the White House op-ed inaccurately claimed the Washington Post didn’t report stories that it actually did cover.
Trump’s Saturday tweet was a capstone to a week when Grisham has given indications how she plans to operate as press secretary, the president engaged in a six-day battle with the press over his misleading claim Alabama was due to take a harder hit from Hurricane Dorian than models suggested at the time, and a White House decision to revoke a reporter’s press pass was blocked by a district court judge.
Grisham, who condemned the press-pass ruling, said Playboy reporter Brian Karem had violated standards of “professionalism” and “decorum” following a heated Rose Garden confrontation with former presidential aide Seb Gorka in July. The White House had moved to revoke Karem’s pass for 30 days.
Last November, the White House revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass after a contentious moment at a press conference with Trump over the handing over of a microphone during questioning. A federal judge later overturned that decision.
The White House Correspondents’ Association had challenged the administration over its decisions on both Karem and Acosta.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.
In a statement, Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron said “we stand fully behind” Rucker and Parker, adding, “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 the free press in this country.”
Both Rucker and Parker have highlighted positive reactions to their story on social media since its publication. Washington Post reporters rallied to their colleagues’ defense Saturday following the president’s tweet.
Trump this week has continued to level attacks on the media over the economy, climate and the presidential primary coverage amid the ongoing imbroglio over the president’s hurricane comment.
On Friday, the president’s son, Eric, publicly challenged Washington Post reporter David Farenthold over an email Farenthold sent to a Trump Organization employee seeking details on the company. The president’s son, who is executive vice chairman of the Trump Organization, was widely ridiculed over his reaction to a common approach to business reporting. Farenthold explained his reporting methods in an online video.
Christian Vasquez contributed to this report