President Donald Trump on Thursday accused The New York Times of becoming “a virtual lobbyist” against the tax cut legislation currently making its way through the Senate, a response to a barrage of negative coverage of the legislation from the newspaper’s opinion writers.
“The Failing @nytimes, the pipe organ for the Democrat Party, has become a virtual lobbyist for them with regard to our massive Tax Cut Bill. They are wrong so often that now I know we have a winner!” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday morning.
Most recently, a news analysis published on the front page of Thursday’s Times said the tax bill currently being hammered out on Capitol Hill “could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people.” The bill is viewed by “many,” the analysis piece said, “not as a product of genuine deliberation, but as a transfer of wealth to corporations and affluent individuals — both generous purveyors of campaign contributions.”
Republican supporters of the legislation have argued that their party’s tax plan will boost the economy by cutting the corporate tax rate, which will incentivize those businesses to invest more and pay higher wages.
The bill also includes what the GOP has labeled as a significant tax cut for middle-class Americans, although Democrats, and the liberal-leaning Times editorial board, have argued that only taxes for the wealthiest Americans will drop under the proposal while middle-class taxpayers will pay more.
On Wednesday, the Times’s editorial boardassumed control of the Twitter accounttypically reserved for the newspaper’s opinion section, posting office phone numbers for lawmakers considered to varying degrees to be on the fence regarding the plan, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
The editorial board also shared a series of opinion pieces critical of the tax legislation via the opinion section’s Twitter account, adding the hashtag #thetaxbillhurts to each.
Although the opinion and editorial sections of newspapers generally operate independently of one another, the social media campaign prompted swift criticism from the GOP. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel asked her Twitter followers Wednesday “can we now stop pretending that the NYT isn't a political organization?”
“The Failing @nytimes has totally gone against the Social Media Guidelines that they installed to preserve some credibility after many of their biased reporters went Rogue!” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday morning, adding the Twitter username of Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” the morning show where he receives almost unflinchingly positive coverage, to the end of the post.
The New York Times did not immediately respond for comment. (Politico)