Published June 13, 2016
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Monday he was revoking the press credentials of the Washington Post after the newspaper published an article with a headline "Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting."
"Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post," Trump posted on his Facebook page.
"I am no fan of President Obama, but to show you how dishonest the phony Washington Post is, they wrote, "Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting" as their headline. Sad!" he added.
In a statement, Post editor Martin Baron said, "Donald Trump's decision to revoke The Washington Post's press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn't correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along - honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We're proud of our coverage, and we're going to keep at it."
The headline on the story Monday afternoon read, "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting."
Post spokeswoman Kristine Coratti Kelly told the Associated Press the headline was changed shortly after the story posted "to more properly reflect what Trump said." She adds, "We did so on our own; the Trump campaign never contacted us about it."
The Trump campaign in a statement said the newspaper covered the Republican candidate "inaccurately."
“The Washington Post unfortunately covers Mr. Trump very inaccurately. Today's headline, "Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting" is a perfect example. We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for "clicks" above journalistic integrity," the statement read.
"They have no journalistic integrity and write falsely about Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump does not mind a bad story, but it has to be honest. The fact is, The Washington Post is being used by the owners of Amazon as their political lobbyist so that they don't have to pay taxes and don't get sued for monopolistic tendencies that have led to the destruction of department stores and the retail industry," the statement continued.
The Washington Post story featured comments Trump made earlier in the day on Fox News, when he made a made a vague statement about Obama interpreted by some as a reference to his sympathies.
“He doesn't get it or, or he gets it better than anybody understands," Trump told Fox News. "It's one or the other. And either one is unacceptable." He later said Obama is either not tough and smart or has “something else in mind.”
"Donald Trump seemed to repeatedly accuse President Obama on Monday of identifying with radicalized Muslims who have carried out terrorist attacks in the United States and being complicit in the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the weekend, the worst the country has ever seen," The Post wrote.
The Washington Post said that Trump's spokeswoman and campaign manager have yet to respond to a request for a fuller explanation of Trump's comments about the president.
Though the gunman, Omar Mateen, was a U.S. citizen, Trump said Monday that the U.S. is allowing others into the country who are “no different than this maniac.”
“This could be the all-time great Trojan horse,” Trump said, of those being admitted from Syria and other nations.
Obama, speaking in the Oval Office after getting briefed on the investigation by top officials, said the U.S. has to go after terror groups and “hit them hard.” He also said the U.S. needs to make it harder for those who wish to inflict harm to obtain weapons.
Meanwhile, Obama said while the investigation is at the preliminary stages, “We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.