The Slatest

While Political World Mourns Barbara Bush, Trump Starts Saturday by Trashing NYT Reporter

President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International in West Palm Beach, Florida on April 18, 2018.
President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International in West Palm Beach, Florida on April 18, 2018. MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman clearly hit a nerve. The president made his feelings clear on Saturday when he went on one of his signature unhinged early morning Twitter rants just as his wife, Melania Trump, was getting ready to join four former presidents to pay their respects to Barbara Bush at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. Trump decided not to attend the funeral and instead sent out tweets personally attacking Haberman mere minutes after he arrived at one of his Florida golf courses. His rant came shortly after the publication of a story that details President Donald Trump’s relationship with his longtime lawyer Michel Cohen.

Nevermind that Haberman was one of three journalists who authored the story that quotes Trump’s longtime political adviser Roger Stone saying the president treats Cohen “like garbage.” The commander in chief chose to only attack Haberman by name and went beyond his usual criticism of the media to criticize the journalist directly, calling her a “third rate reporter” who is “known as a Crooked H flunkie.” He then claimed that “I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with” Haberman. Trump says Haberman and the Times “are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip.’”

The Times and Haberman “use non-existent ‘sources’ and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael” to discredit a person he has “always liked & respected,” the president wrote. Trump went on to express confidence that while “most people will flip” if given a chance, Cohen won’t do that to him. “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!” Trump said to end his three-tweet rant.

A few minutes after posting his rant, Haberman noted that the president had spelled her name wrong. So the commander in chief proceeded to delete his rant and post the same messages, only with Haberman’s name spelled correctly.

Although Trump doesn’t say who he thinks is a “drunk/drugged up loser” he seems to be referring to former campaign aide Sam Nunberg. In the piece, Nunberg says that Cohen “now holds leverage over Trump.” With the insult the president seems to be referring to Nunberg’s strange media tour last month where he did several strange interviews. At one point CNN’s Erin Burnett told him flat out he smelled of alcohol during an interview.

Many on Twitter were also quick to point out that Trump wasn’t exactly being truthful when he claimed that he has “nothing to do” with Haberman. Several people posted a photo of Trump with his arm around Haberman giving a thumbs up sign. Plus there’s the pesky detail of those on-the-record interviews Trump gave to the Times.

CNN’s Brian Stelter also pointed to a trailer for a Showtime documentary series about the Times in which Haberman says, “Trump is about to call me.”