In a series of tweets Sunday and Monday, President Trump accused The Washington Post of publishing a “fake news” report on his war with the “Squad” of far-left Democratic congresswomen.
The front page story in Sunday’s paper, titled “A Twitter storm and its aftermath” (alternately titled “‘He always doubles down‘: Inside the political crisis caused by Trump’s racist tweets” online) takes an in-depth look at the aftermath of Trump’s tweets urging the Squad — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Ayanna Pressley (MA) — to “go back” to their countries of origin (only Omar was born outside the U.S.) if they don’t like America, including his supporters’ chants of “Send her back!” in reference to Omar during a rally in North Carolina last week.
“The Washington Post Story, about my speech in North Carolina and tweet, with its phony sources who do not exist, is Fake News,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “The only thing people were talking about is the record setting crowd and the tremendous enthusiasm, far greater than the Democrats. You’ll see in 2020!” He followed that tweet by repeating a phrase that’s become one of his refrains about how the media treats him: “Presidential Harassment!”
The president then once again emphasized why he has singled out the Squad: “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country. They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!”
On Monday morning, Trump elaborated on his complaint about the Post’s “fake news” report: “The Amazon Washington Post front page story yesterday was total Fake News. They said ‘Advisors wrote new talking points and handed him reams of opposition research on the four Congresswomen.’ Now really, does that sound like me? What advisors, there were no talking points, except for those stated by me, & ‘reams of paper’ were never given to me. It is a made up story meant to demean & belittle. The Post had no sources. The facts remain the same, that we have 4 Radical Left Congresswomen who have said very bad things about Israel & our Country!”
“The Mainstream Media is out of control,” he added. “They constantly lie and cheat in order to get their Radical Left Democrat views out their for all to see. It has never been this bad. They have gone bonkers, & no longer care what is right or wrong. This large scale false reporting is sick!”
On Sunday, the Post reported at length on the controversy surrounding Trump’s “racist tweets.”
“President Trump’s own top aides didn’t think he fully understood what he had done last Sunday, when he fired off a trio of racist tweets before a trip to his golf course,” the report begins. “After he returned to the White House, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway felt compelled to tell him why the missives were leading newscasts around the country, upsetting allies and enraging opponents. Calling on four minority congresswomen — all citizens, three born in the United States — to ‘go back’ to the ‘totally broken and crime infested places from which they came’ had hit a painful historical nerve.”
The Post says that Trump defended his decision to call out the Squad because he believes it’s a wise strategic move:
Trump defended himself. He had been watching “Fox & Friends” after waking up. He wanted to elevate the congresswomen, as he had previously discussed with aides. The Democratic lawmakers — Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — were good foils, he had told his advisers, including campaign manager Brad Parscale. The president said he thought he was interjecting himself into Democratic Party politics in a good way.
As is often the case, Trump acted alone — impulsively following his gut to the dark side of American politics, and now the country would have to pick up the pieces. The day before, on the golf course, he hadn’t brought it up. Over the coming days, dozens of friends, advisers and political allies would work behind the scenes to try to fix the mess without any public admission of error because that was not the Trump way.
The Post goes on to report that Trump’s advisers “wrote new talking points and handed him reams of opposition research on the four congresswomen. Pivot to patriotism. Focus on their ideas and behavior, not identity. Some would still see a racist agenda, the argument went, but at least it would not be so explicit.” (Read the full report here.)
While the Post stresses Republicans’ worries about the potential negative impact of Trump’s war with the Squad, some on the other side of the aisle are just as worried that the president’s war with the radical group may end up being “politically brilliant,” as highlighted by CNN. “The President won this one,” one House Democrat told CNN in reference to Trump’s focus on the Squad. “What the President has done is politically brilliant. Pelosi was trying to marginalize these folks, and the President has now identified the entire party with them.”
Trump’s Post-themed tweets below: