A top editor at Reuters apologized on Thursday night after blaming President Trump for the deadly Capital Gazette shooting in a now-deleted tweet that was sent during a “state of emotional distress,” but he might still be disciplined by the international news service.
Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox admitted that he “responded emotionally and inappropriately” after being called out for jumping to conclusions prior to the facts emerging. Police said the suspected gunman, eventually identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, targeted the newspaper after a lengthy feud regarding a 2012 defamation lawsuit.
“This is what happens when @realDonaldTrump calls journalists the enemy of the people. Blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul,” Cox wrote in the deleted tweet, according to TheWrap.
“When I saw the news today that a mass shooter had targeted the employees of a newspaper in Maryland I responded emotionally and inappropriately,” Cox wrote. “Though my comments were entirely personal, they were not in keeping with the Reuters Trust Principles and my own standards for letting facts, not snap judgments, guide my understanding.”
Cox continued: “My experience as a member of the community of Newtown, Connecticut in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, combined with the possibility that my colleagues in the press were being targeted, pushed me into a state of emotional distress.”
“I am sorry for my comments, which I quickly deleted and have disavowed, and especially remorseful if they did anything to distract from the thoughts and love we must send to the community of Annapolis,” Cox wrote.
Reuters bills itself as the "world’s largest international multimedia news provider,” which reaches over one billion people on a daily basis. Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler issued his own statement, calling Cox’s tweet “inconsistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles requiring journalists to maintain freedom from bias.”
“We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action,” Adler said.
The five Gazette staffers killed in the attack were identified as Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rebecca Smith, and Rob Hiaasen.
Cox wasn’t the only powerful media member attempting to pin the tragic attacks on President Trump. Think Progress founder Judd Legum claimed “Ramos does appear to be a Trump supporter,” using a 2015 tweet that had nothing to do with politics as his evidence. He was quickly mocked for the misleading tweet but had not deleted it at the time of this publication.
Fox News’ Amy Lieu contributed to this report.