It may be a moment of note for future historians: a president-elect, in the throes of building his new administration, sparred with one the nation’s largest newspapers on social media.
But on Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump, who spent at least part of this weekend holed up in his tower in New York as he considered candidates for his cabinet, still managed to find time to argue with The New York Times.
He claimed it was losing thousands of subscribers due to its “very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the ‘Trump phenomena,’” he tweeted Sunday morning.
Wow, the @nytimes is losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the "Trump phenomena"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2016
The Times responded directly to Trump, claiming that the organization was experiencing a “surge in new subscriptions.”
fact: surge in new subscriptions, print & digital, with trends, stops & starts, 4 X better than normal.— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) November 13, 2016
Trump also criticized a letter to readers posted Sunday by the Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, in which Baquet promised readers the paper would “hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.”
The @nytimes sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me. I wonder if it will change - doubt it?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2016
In a separate letter to Times staff, Baquet appeared to suggest the divisive nature of the campaign would shape future coverage.
“We will look within and beyond Washington to explore the roots of the anger that has roiled red and blue America. If many Americans no longer seem to understand each other, let’s make it our job to interpret and explain,” Baquet wrote.
We're proud of our election coverage & we will continue to "hold power to account." Here's what we told our employees & our subscribers: pic.twitter.com/dcaTrAS4mU— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) November 13, 2016
Trump also complained the Times inaccuratedly reported he supported nuclear proliferation.
The @nytimes states today that DJT believes "more countries should acquire nuclear weapons." How dishonest are they. I never said this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2016
Trump appeared to be referring to a Times interview from March, when he was asked whether he thought Japan needed its own nuclear weapons due to a perceived threat from North Korea.
“Well I think maybe it’s not so bad to have Japan — if Japan had that nuclear threat, I’m not sure that would be a bad thing for us,” the Times quoted Trump as responding.
After famously being separated from his Twitter account shortly before the election last week, Trump has returned to targeting critics over social media.
When protesters took to the streets across the country after Tuesday’s election, Trump complained Thursday about the “professional protesters” who were incited by the media.
Trump appeared to have a change of heart the following day.
“Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!” Trump wrote.
John Hilliard can be reached at email@example.com.