President Donald Trump called out a prominent Washington Post reporter by name on Twitter Saturday evening and said he should be fired.
Dave Weigel, a reporter for the Post, made a mistake Friday when he tweeted a picture of an empty arena in Florida hours before a "Make America Great Again" rally was to take place. Weigel was responding to Trump's claim that the arena had been "packed to the rafters."
Trump, in response to Weigel's tweet, first tweeted several pictures of the packed arena where he spoke. He also claimed Weigel "put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived." In the same tweet, Trump demanded an apology from Weigel and a retraction from the "fake news" Washington Post.
.@DaveWeigel @WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived @ the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in. Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo! pic.twitter.com/XAblFGh1ob
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
How did Weigel respond?
Instead of making an excuse for the mistake, Weigel simply owned up to and apologized for it. Weigel said he deleted his initial tweet after David Martosko, the U.S. political editor for the Daily Mail UK, pointed out the mistake.
Sure thing: I apologize. I deleted the photo after @dmartosko told me I'd gotten it wrong. Was confused by the imag… https://t.co/NlDeFGypLD— Dave Weigel (@Dave Weigel)1512857079.0
Was Trump done?
Despite receiving the apology that he wanted, and the retraction (Weigel deleted the false tweet), Trump wanted more. In a follow-up tweet, the president acknowledged Weigel's apology, but then called for Weigel to be fired from the Post.
.@daveweigel of the Washington Post just admitted that his picture was a FAKE (fraud?) showing an almost empty aren… https://t.co/wERMFP0Wcp— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1512861274.0
How did the media react?
To put it mildly, Trump's tweets, especially considering Weigel's willingness to apologize, didn't go over well.
CNN host Brian Stelter:
By including Dave Weigel’s @ handle, the president’s statement is inviting followers to gang up on a reporter https://t.co/3C5jKDvFP5— Brian Stelter (@Brian Stelter)1512861903.0
MSNBC producer Kyle Griffn:
The president calling for a journalist to be fired seems like a public threat to the First Amendment. https://t.co/Vx4csNtIP4— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin)1512863406.0
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman:
And apologized as Trump demanded. And then Trump said that’s not enough. Almost feels like wanting the apology wasn… https://t.co/Lg0ivx2jOI— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1512861481.0
Huffington Post reporter Matt Fuller:
Dave Weigel is one of the best reporters in the world. He made a mistake — in a tweet! — about CROWD SIZE. He admi… https://t.co/hFdUYILASG— Matt Fuller (@Matt Fuller)1512863325.0
Vox.com co-founder Matt Yglesias:
Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama administration official who is now a CNN contributor and co-hosts one of the most popular political podcasts:
Trump is attacking @daveweigel because he is sad and vain but also because he doesn’t want his supporters to believ… https://t.co/ovC5fSJq5w— Dan Pfeiffer (@Dan Pfeiffer)1512864393.0