On Saturday, President Donald Trump’s Twitter account — whose accounts are considered official statements by the White House — criticized Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel for an inaccurate tweet and then posted a follow-up tweet calling on Weigel to be fired.
Weigel tweeted out a relatively empty picture of the Pensacola venue where Trump spoke last and captioned it with a quote from Trump’s tweet that it was “packed to the rafters.” Weigel then deleted the tweet after finding out it was inaccurate. The Washington Post reporter claimed on Twitter that the error was pointed out by Daily Mail political editor David Martosko, but Martosko denied this stating, “We haven’t connected in at least a year, BTW.” Weigel claims that the tweet was only posted for roughly 20 minutes before he deleted it.
Weigel later clarified that he was corrected when seeing Martosko’s tweets, not that Martosko told him directly.
Trump’s account then tweeted, “.@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!”
Weigel then responded to that tweet by 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.”
Weigel also defended himself by 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.”
However, Trump was apparently not satisfied by Weigel’s apology and tweeted, “.@daveweigel of the Washington Post just admitted that his picture was a FAKE (fraud?) showing an almost empty arena last night for my speech in Pensacola when, in fact, he knew the arena was packed (as shown also on T.V.). FAKE NEWS, he should be fired.”
The Washington Post said in an email to TKNN, “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.”
President Trump took to Twitter to criticize “fake news” several times this week after fumbles by members of the press. After ABC News suspended Brian Ross for a botched report earlier this week, he congratulated the network for the move and then encouraged investors to sue for damages. This morning while criticizing CNN’s report, he said that Ross should be fired.
Then twelve hours he would take to Twitter again to demand a reporter at a different news organization be fired.
This article has been updated with Weigel’s clarification.