In his latest attacks on the “fake news media,” President Trump took to Twitter this weekend calling for a Washington Post reporter to be fired after sharing a misleading tweet.
At the time of a Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, reporter Dave Weigel shared a since-deleted tweet that called into question Trump’s claim that the arena was “packed to the rafters.” Harking back to the inauguration crowd size fiasco, Weigel shared a photo of a half-full arena along with Trump’s claim around the size of the rally.
Trump responded to the tweet on Saturday, sharing a screenshot of Weigel’s tweet, along with other photos of a much fuller arena. He accused Weigel of putting out a “phony photo,” and called for an apology and retraction.
.@DaveWeigel @WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived @ the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in. Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo! pic.twitter.com/XAblFGh1ob
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
Weigel quickly responded directly to Trump’s tweet, saying, “Sure thing: I apologize. I deleted the photo after @dmartosko told me I’d gotten it wrong. Was confused by the image of you walking in the bottom right corner.”
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) December 9, 2017
Weigel also responded to another user’s tweet, which called into question his verification process, saying, “It was a bad tweet on my personal account, not a story for Washington Post. I deleted it after like 20 minutes. Very fair to call me out. Everything I say on Twitter is a joke, except what I say about @swin24.”
Trump jumped on Weigel’s apology, tweeting again that the reporter “admitted that his picture was a FAKE” and calling for him to be fired. The Washington Post published a statement Saturday evening, which read: “Dave Weigel relied on an inaccurate image in tweeting about President Trump’s rally in Pensacola. When others pointed out the mistake to Weigel, he quickly deleted the tweet. And when he was later addressed by the president on Twitter, he promptly apologized for it.” On Sunday morning, Deadline reported that the Washington Post did not intend to fire Weigel.
Trump continued his accusations against the fake news media throughout the weekend, sharing a tweet late Sunday afternoon that highlighted the lack of discussion around “all the purposely false and defamatory stories put out this week by the Fake News Media.” Trump claimed that “Major lies written, then forced to be withdrawn after they are exposed…a stain on America!”
On Friday, Trump had specifically called out ABC News and CNN, tweeting, “Fake News CNN made a vicious and purposeful mistake yesterday. They were caught red handed, just like lonely Brian Ross at ABC News (who should be immediately fired for his “mistake”). Watch to see if @CNN fires those responsible, or was it just gross incompetence?”
Earlier this month, ABC News suspended investigative correspondent Brian Ross after he incorrectly reported a story about former national security adviser Michael Flynn testifying that Trump “had directed him to make contact with Russian officials” while Trump was running for president. On Friday, CNN corrected a story about Donald Trump Jr. that erroneously reported that he had received advance notice from Wikileaks about documents the group planned to release during the presidential campaign last year.