The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trump repeatedly takes aim at the media, including a New York Times columnist critical of Republicans

President Trump listens during a briefing on drug trafficking at the southern border at the White Houe last month.
President Trump listens during a briefing on drug trafficking at the southern border at the White Houe last month. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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President Trump on Tuesday repeatedly lashed out at the media, including a New York Times columnist who was critical of Republicans for not taking action against Trump following the release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a barrage of morning tweets, Trump claimed that the columnist, Paul Krugman, was “obsessed with hatred” and demanded a “big” apology from the Times. He also complained that the “Mainstream Media” was not giving him sufficient credit for the economy.

In a piece published Tuesday, Krugman said the report by Robert S. Mueller III showed that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election, that Trump’s campaign was aware of the intervention and welcomed it, and that Trump later tried to block an inquiry into what happened.

“The fact is that the occupant of the White House betrayed his country,” wrote Krugman. He also accused the GOP of “selling out” for tax cuts for the wealthy and characterized Trump as “a would-be authoritarian who was unfit morally, temperamentally and intellectually for high office.”

On Twitter on Tuesday, Trump said Krugman has “lost all credibility, as has the Times itself, with his false and highly inaccurate writings on me.”

“He is obsessed with hatred, just as others are obsessed with how stupid he is,” Trump added.

Trump then repeated a false claim that the Times apologized to him for its 2016 election coverage, and he suggested that the paper should do so again.

“On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!” Trump wrote, invoking a moniker he has used to describe the media on multiple occasions in the past.

No, the New York Times did not apologize because its Trump coverage was ‘so wrong’

In a letter to Times readers following the 2016 election, publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. wrote that one of the “inevitable questions” in the aftermath of the campaign was: “Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters?”

He promised to “rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism” but at no point apologized to Trump.

Trump has fired off dozens of tweets in recent days in response to the Mueller report, which did not find sufficient evidence for charges of criminal conspiracy with Russia and did not offer a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.

Attorney General William P. Barr later concluded that there was not sufficient evidence for obstruction of justice, but House Democrats are continuing to pursue that issue.

In other tweets Tuesday morning, Trump asserted that “Radical Left Democrats” and the “Fake News Media” have gone “totally insane” and that previous presidents have been “basically immune from criticism” when the economy was doing well.

“Today I have, as President, perhaps the greatest economy in history ... and to the Mainstream Media, it means NOTHING. But it will!” he wrote.

Trump offered an exception in his criticism of the media, calling “Fox & Friends” on Fox News “by far the best of the morning political shows on television.”

He subsequently criticized the shows and hosts on rival networks, including Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, whom he branded “Pyscho (Joe).”

Soon after, Scarborough playfully embraced the term on air, talking about Trump’s tweets with a chyron that read: “Morning Psycho Responds To Faithful Viewer.”