Share story

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday took direct aim at The New York Times, calling the news organization a “true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE,” in an escalation from his previous lashings which were typically addressed to a group of news organizations or over specific Times articles.

He wrote: “The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Trump does not cite a specific article, but his blunt declaration comes a day after The Times published a report describing how he has tried to influence and undermine investigations surrounding him, his presidential campaign and his administration.

Trump has long denigrated American news outlets that in his view deliver less-than-favorable reports. Less than a month into his presidency, Trump wrote in a Twitter post that specific news organizations, including The Times, were not his enemy, but were the enemy of the American people. At the time, his statement was shocking as the newly inaugurated leader of a country that prides itself on press freedoms.

The president has periodically returned to that expression during moments of peak criticism.

But Wednesday’s denigration went a step further, suggesting that The Times reporting, across the board, is not to be trusted and is done to the detriment of Americans.

On Jan. 31, Trump assured the publisher of The Times, A.G. Sulzberger, that he, like previous American presidents, was a great defender of the free press.

“I want to be. I want to be,” Trump said during the interview with Sulzberger and two Times reporters.

In July 2018, Trump made similar statements in an off-the-record meeting with Sulzberger. But nine days later, Trump broke the agreement to keep the meeting private when he tweeted about the conversation and said the two men discussed “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Sad!”

Sulzberger said the president misrepresented their discussion and called Trump’s attacks on the news media “dangerous and harmful to our country.”