Trump meets with New York Times publisher to discuss ‘fake news’


President Trump said early Sunday that he met with A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, to discuss media coverage of his administration, and the president’s belief that some members of the press have become the “enemy of the people.”

Trump said the two men met at the White House, and called their discussion “very good and interesting.”

“Spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Sad!” Trump tweeted.

The New York Times said in a statement later Sunday morning that Sulzberger accepted an invitation from the White House and attended a meeting on July 20. The newspaper said the publisher has in the past met with presidents and other public figures concerned about coverage.{mosads}

Sulzberger said in the statement that he urged Trump to reconsider his constant attacks on the media, which the president has labeled “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” The publisher warned that Trump’s rhetoric is “dangerous and harmful to our country.”

“I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people,’ ” Sulzberger said.

“I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence,” he added.

“I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press,” Sulzberger continued.

The Times said in a statement that the meeting was off the record, but issued its comment after Trump made it public knowledge on Sunday morning. 

Trump has had a fraught relationship with the press since he hit the campaign trail, frequently deriding negative coverage as “fake news.” He typically points to press in attendance at his rallies, prompting boos and jeers from the crowd. 

The New York Times is among his favorite targets for criticism. He has personally attacked reporter Maggie Haberman on Twitter for her coverage, as well as journalists from other outlets.

The president has called the press the “enemy of the people” on multiple occasions. He has continued to use the phrase even after a gunman opened fire at a newsroom in Maryland last month, killing five people.

The White House caused a stir last week when it barred a CNN reporter from covering an open press event after she repeatedly asked Trump about being secretly recorded by his former attorney, Michael Cohen. Numerous news organizations pushed back against the move.

The Washington Post later reported that Trump has sought to ban specific reporters from White House press briefings because he dislikes their coverage.

Updated at 11:22 a.m.

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