Donald Trump fights fire with fire.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, the billionaire-businessman-turned-presidential-contender had no apologies for refusing campaign press credentials to reporters from the Des Moines Register after the newspaper ran an insulting editorial accusing Trump of being a “feckless blowhard” and calling on him to abandon his “ill-conceived campaign.”
In an interview with host Jake Tapper, Trump made it clear Register reporters were welcome to attend his campaign events, just like any other member of the public. They just would not be accorded any special access privileges.
This is a failing paper that’s treated me extremely wrong. They’ve lied in many stories…It has very little power. It’s failing badly, and frankly, they’re not good people. But I agree with you. That’s called a little bit of the freedom of the press thing.
But, this was the paper that, you know, when they lie a lie and lie and knowingly lie, you say, well, let’s just not — and they can go in! They just have to sit with everybody else. They just don’t give them credentials.
Trump was responding to a Tapper plea that Trump not hold the newspaper’s editorial columns against its news-side reporters — even if the editorials are as one-sided as the Register’s.
Headlined “Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side show,” the editorial said, among other things:
In the five weeks since he announced his campaign to seek the GOP nomination for president, Trump has been more focused on promoting himself, and his brand, than in addressing the problems facing the nation. If he were merely a self-absorbed, B-list celebrity, his unchecked ego could be tolerated as a source of mild amusement. But he now wants to become president, which means that he aspires to be the leader of the free world and the keeper of our nuclear launch codes.
That is problematic, because Trump, by every indication, seems wholly unqualified to sit in the White House. If he had not already disqualified himself through his attempts to demonize immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, he certainly did so by questioning the war record of John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona.
Despite the hostility from the paper’s editorial board — and the contretemps over credentials — the Trump campaign did treat the Register reporters at least somewhat cordially at a “family picnic” held Saturday in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The paper’s chief politics reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted:
Des Moines Register’s Henry Hahn in main auditorium covering event for us, I’m in overflow. Trump staff polite; Trump silent when he saw me.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) July 25, 2015
Here’s the last minute of Tapper’s interview with Trump Sunday, via CNN.
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