Trump Weighs in on NYT Deputy Editor’s Demotion: ‘Should Have Been Fired!’

August 15, 2019 Updated: August 17, 2019

President Donald Trump has reacted to the recent demotion of an editor at The New York Times who sparked controversy over his social media behavior.

Jonathan Weisman, who was previously the deputy Washington editor, came under fire for several tweets that were widely viewed as inappropriate and criticized as racist. Trump weighed in on the demotion, saying in a Twitter post on Aug. 15 that Weisman should have instead been fired.

“Wow! The Deputy Editor of the Failing New York Times was just demoted,” Trump wrote. “Should have been Fired! Totally biased and inaccurate reporting. The paper is a Fraud, Zero Credibility. Fake News takes another hit, but this time a big one!”

The New York Times said in a statement sent to news outlets on Aug. 13 that the paper’s executive editor Dean Baquet met with Weisman. During that meeting, Weisman apologized for his behavior on Twitter.

“Jonathan Weisman met with Dean today and apologized for his recent serious lapses in judgment,” the statement said. “As a consequence of his actions, he has been demoted and will no longer be overseeing the team that covers Congress or be active on social media. We don’t typically discuss personnel matters but we’re doing so in this instance with Jonathan’s knowledge.”

Weisman, who regularly expressed his opinions on his Twitter account, recently provoked ire among progressives and was widely condemned for two posts on Twitter.

In July, Weisman argued that Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who live in deeply blue cities that tend to be more liberal than the rest of their states, don’t represent the Midwest.

“Saying [they’re] from the Midwest is like saying @RepLloydDoggett (D-Austin) is from Texas or @repjohnlewis (D-Atlanta) is from the Deep South. C’mon,” Weisman tweeted on July 31. He later deleted the missive and wrote, “Earlier this morning, I tried to make a point about regional differences in politics between urban and rural areas. I deleted the tweets because I realize I did not adequately make my point.”

Moreover, in a separate post written on Aug. 7, Weisman reacted to an announcement by the progressive Justice Democrats that they were backing Morgan Harper against an African American incumbent.

“Justice Democrats has backed another primary challenger, this one seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat, Joyce Beatty, who represents Columbus,” he wrote.

Harper responded, writing, “I am also black.”

He responded to her, saying, “Justice Dem’s endorsement included a photo,” seemingly suggesting Harper doesn’t look black.

Roxane Gay, a progressive author who sometimes contributes to The New York Times, was among those who called Weisman out for his comments: “Any time you think you’re unqualified for a job, remember that this guy, telling a black woman she isn’t black because he looked at a picture and can’t see, has one of the most prestigious jobs in America.”

Later, Gay claimed that Weisman had demanded an “enormous apology” for her criticism of him.

Screenshots showed an email, allegedly sent by Weisman, saying he was “surprised to see your ad hominem attack on me on Twitter.”

“You misconstrued my rather innocuous tweet, willfully or mistakenly, accused me of racism, and incompetence, seemed to want me fired, and since I have not written off Twitter completely, I was hoping to speak to communicate to clarify my meaning and to understand yours,” he apparently wrote.

While Weisman hasn’t publicly posted about the demotion on his Twitter account, he told a media reporter in The New York Times, Marc Tracy, that he accepted Baquet’s decision.

“I accept Dean’s judgment. I think he’s right to do what he’s doing. I embarrassed the newspaper, and he had to act,” Weisman told Tracy following the meeting.

Trump has been critical of The New York Times’ reporting and has repeatedly called the paper out for what he perceives as inaccurate and biased reporting. On Aug. 10, he called out New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman for a story he said contained “fake reporting.”

“Maggie Haberman of the Failing @nytimes reported that I was annoyed by the lack of cameras inside the hospitals in Dayton & El Paso, when in fact I was the one who stated, very strongly, that I didn’t want the Fake News inside & told my people NOT to let them in,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Aug. 10.

“Fake reporting!”

“Never has the press been more inaccurate, unfair or corrupt! We are not fighting the Democrats, they are easy, we are fighting the seriously dishonest and unhinged Lamestream Media. They have gone totally CRAZY. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he later added.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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