Trump goes after 'nasty' WaPost reporters, suggests they be barred from White House

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE lashed out at a pair of Washington Post reporters early Saturday, ratcheting up the White House's feud with the journalists over their coverage of the Trump administration.

Trump went after the Post's Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker in a tweet, calling them "two nasty lightweight reporters" and suggesting they be barred from the White House grounds.

The president wrote that the reporters "shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House because their reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE."

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for further information.

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Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron later defended the reporters, calling them "superb journalists" and saying they "have consistently demonstrated their integrity in covering the White House."

“We stand fully behind them and their important work," Baron said in a statement.

"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 a free press in this country,” he added.

Trump's tweets came two days after a pair of top White House officials penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner criticizing the Post for a Sept. 1 article describing "what some Trump advisers and allies characterize as a lost summer defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities."

Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Debruyne Says Global Response Platform Needed; Navarro Saw It Coming The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump gets new press secretary in latest shake-up MORE and Hogan Gidley, the White House press secretary and deputy press secretary, respectively, wrote that the Post refused to cite the majority of Trump’s accomplishments from a list of 26 that was provided.

The White House officials accused Rucker and Parker of having “pushed their own personal political narrative that President Trump had a ‘lost summer’ of squandered opportunities and few accomplishments.”

They specifically cited Trump's historic meeting with Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnTired of worrying about the pandemic? There's always Pyongyang Overnight Defense: Pentagon orders bases to stop reporting coronavirus numbers | Hospital ship arrives in NY | Marines pause sending new recruits to boot camp | Defense bill work delayed North Korea: 'Reckless remarks' by Pompeo show US doesn't want nuclear talks MORE in North Korea as well as his push for a trade deal with Japan as examples that the reporters did not include.

“The truth is, Trump racked up many well-documented victories that directly benefited the American people at home and abroad,” Grisham and Gidley wrote. 

“Media bias comes in two forms. It plays a role in deciding what news is, and is not, covered, and also in deciding how that news is covered. In this instance, the Post's ‘reporters’ are guilty of both.”

The Post defended its coverage in a statement to The Hill on Friday.

"Our story prominently noted the White House’s list of accomplishments and quoted a White House spokesman at length. It also reported the views of Republicans, both on the record and on background, some of whom are part of the administration and some who watch its performance from a distance," said Shani George, the Post's director of communications.

"Readers can judge for themselves whether our account fairly represented a variety of perspectives on the President’s summer," she added.

The White House is known to have a bitter relationship with several mainstream media outlets, though the Post has emerged as one of the top targets of the president, who often refers to the paper as the “Amazon Washington Post,” a reference to the paper’s owner, Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosJeff Bezos gives 0M to Feeding America amid coronavirus pandemic Fired Amazon striker demands Bezos protect workers in open letter Hillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks MORE, the founder and CEO of Amazon. 

Trump's tweets Saturday prompted immediate pushback from journalists, including a number of Post employees, who defended the reporters:

The White House has moved in the past to suspend press credentials for certain media members following clashes with the administration.

In August, the administration said it would suspend Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem's press credentials for a month, citing his conduct during a July Rose Garden event in when he clashed with with Trump supporters who attended a White House social media summit. Karem has sued to restore his credentials.

Last year, the White House also revoked CNN reporter Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaABC's Karl shuns responding to Trump's personal attacks: 'It's not what matters' Dire projections put new focus on Trump coronavirus response Judge rules lawsuit alleging Trump threatened free press can move forward MORE's credentials after he made contact with an intern while attempting to hold on to a microphone to ask Trump a question during an event. A judge later ordered the White House to to restore Acosta's credentials.

Updated: 1:23 p.m.