Washington Post journalist explains why email criticized by Eric Trump is normal protocol

Washington Post reporter David Farenthold on Friday explained why an email he sent that Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpRobin Williams's daughter hits Eric Trump after he shares clip of her father mocking Biden Sunday shows preview: White House, Democratic leaders struggle for deal on coronavirus bill Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down MORE criticized is normal journalistic protocol.

“This is a kind of an email I send all the time,” said Farenthold, who covers the Trump Organization, in a video the Post tweeted. “A lot of journalism is finding people who know something you want to know … [and] reaching out and making connections with people who might be able to help you.”

He added: “There’s really no other way to make that connection, other than taking that first step.” 

Farenthold emphasized the importance of keeping tabs on the Trump Organization, given President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE’s continued ties to the company.

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“We’ve never had a president like this that kept ownership of his business and brought it with him to the White House,” Farenthold said. “You can’t understand what’s happening with him unless you understand what’s happening with his businesses.”

Farenthold’s comments come hours after Eric Trump posted a screenshot of an email Farenthold sent to a Trump Organization employee and blasted the reporter for providing his contact information and offering to take information.

In Farenthold’s email, he wrote: “I’m very sorry to bother. I’m a reporter for the Washington Post, and I cover the Trump Organization as a business. As part of that, I try to make sure every Trump Org employee has my contact information. You know the company so much better than I ever could. I’d like your help to make sure I don’t miss something important.

“If you ever want to get in touch with me, I’d be glad to talk ‘on background,’ meaning I’d never use your name in any story, or tell anyone else that we spoke. All my contact information is below, including details for how to reach me on encrypted apps,” Farenthold continued.

Reporters from multiple news outlets took to Twitter to defend Farenthold, arguing his email was professional and well within normal conduct as a journalist.