The New York Times hit back at President Donald Trump’s tweet Sunday that described his recent meeting with the newspaper’s publisher A.G. Sulzberger.
Trump had tweeted that he had “a very good and interesting” meeting with Sulzberger, the sixth member of his family to serve as publisher since they purchased the Times in 1896.
“Spent much time talking about the vast amount of Fake News being put out by the media,” tweeted Trump, who has frequently ― and falsely ― accused the legacy paper of publishing what he calls “fake news.”
Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times. Spent much time talking about 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
Soon after, the Times weighed in with additional context about the exchange.
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The White House asked Sulzberger to meet with Trump earlier this month, Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, told HuffPost in an email Sunday.
“This was not unusual; there has been a long tradition of New York Times publishers holding such meetings with presidents and other public figures who have concerns about coverage,” Murphy wrote.
On July 20, Sulzberger and James Bennet, the editor of the Times’ editorial page, met with Trump at the White House, according to Murphy. Though Trump’s aides requested the meeting be off the record, Trump’s tweet Sunday put the meeting “on the record,” allowing for Sulzberger to respond, she said.
“My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” Sulzberger said in a statement to HuffPost. “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”
“I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he he felt our coverage was unfair,” he added. “Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.”
Read the full statement below:
My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.
I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.
I told him that although the phrase “fake news” is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists “the enemy of the people.” I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.
I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.
Throughout the conversation I emphasized that if President Trump, like previous presidents, was upset with coverage of his administration he was of course free to tell the world. I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he felt our coverage was unfair. Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.