The newsroom of the Washington Post appeared to have a festive atmosphere Monday after publishing a story about President Trump discussing highly classified information with Russian officials at the White House.
Washington Post Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler tweeted there was “Applause in the newsroom as the Russia-leak scoop breaks the Hollywood Access record for most readers per minute.”
Kessler later tweeted, "I've been fact-checked: Applause in the newsroom as the Russia-leak scoop breaks the Hollywood Access record for most readers per SECOND."
The remarks drew reaction from Matt Drudge, the proprietor of the Drudge Report.
"WASHPOST Newsroom staff openly applauding at latest Trump hit finally clarifies how this has turned into nothing but a bloodsport!" he tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, Drudge wrote "WASHPOST Newsroom staff openly applauded when Obama visited '09. It was bloodsport then, just played on same team!" while including a link to a Politico story from 2009 containing a press pool report about then-President-Elect Obama’s visit to the newsroom.
"After three and a half hours at his transition office, PEOTUS obama took another 6 minute ride through washington, arriving at 157 pm at the nondescript soviet-style building at 15th and L street that houses the washington post,” the pool report from 2009 said. “Around 100 people--Post reporters perhaps?--awaited PEOTUS's arrival, cheering and bobbing their coffee cups. Pool is holding in a van outside, while Mr obama does his washington post interview, and will exercise enormous restraint by ending report before saying what really thinks about this turn of events."
A Washington Post spokesperson told Politico at the time there was "There’s no reason to think there were any reporters cheering," adding that "a lot of people who work in the Post building who don’t work in the Post newsroom.”
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday adamantly defended Trump’s conversations with Russian officials as “wholly appropriate,” pushing back for a second day on the report by the Post.
During a tense White House briefing, McMaster also ripped the leaks fueling such media reports – and said the president was not “even aware” of the source of the information he apparently shared with the Russians.