She characterized the decision as a cost-saving measure, telling the Journal that “hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved” by the cancellations.
Trump has made no secret of his dislike for both newspapers, dubbing the Times “the failing New York Times” and The Post “the Amazon Washington Post” in his frequent broadsides against the two news organizations.
Neither description is accurate: The Times’s parent company, the New York Times Co., is highly profitable and its subscription base has been growing smartly, particularly since Trump took office. The Post is owned by Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos but is otherwise unaffiliated with Amazon itself.
Trump turned his animus toward the Times and Post up a notch in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday, saying, “We don’t even want [the Times] in the White House anymore. “We’re going to probably terminate that and The Washington Post. They’re fake.”
The White House has already canceled its subscriptions to the papers, according to several accounts.
The two papers have been among the leading news sources in investigating Trump, and have closely covered the impeachment inquiry in the House that threatens his presidency.
The Times won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year for a series of stories detailing Trump’s inheritance from his father and his family’s history of using questionable and possibly illegal strategies to avoid taxes.
The Times and The Post shared a Pulitzer in 2018 for documenting Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to Trump’s campaign and his transition team and administration. During the 2016 campaign, both papers aggressively covered allegations that he sexually assaulted women. And The Post’s David Fahrenthold won a Pulitzer for coverage “casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities.”
Trump responded earlier this year by saying in a tweet that the Pulitzer committee should withdraw the Russia prize awarded to the papers. In June, he tweeted that a Times story about the United States’ cyber campaign against Russian targets was “a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.” He repeated his now-familiar mantra: “Enemy of the people.”
It’s not clear how many subscriptions federal agencies have to the newspapers, and whether these are to the physical paper itself, to its digital equivalent or to both.
Spokespeople for the Times and Post had no comment.
Presidents have canceled newspapers in fits of pique at their coverage before. President Kennedy canceled the White House’s subscription to the New York Herald Tribune in the early 1960s. According to historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in his account of Kennedy’s presidency, “A Thousand Days,” Kennedy was angry at the newspaper’s editorials about impropriety in his administration, complaining that the newspaper underplayed similar behavior in the Eisenhower administration.
The White House eventually renewed its subscription.