On Tuesday morning, The New York Times found out that Trump had canceled a meeting with them over Twitter.
In subsequent tweets, Trump explained that “a new meeting will be set up... in the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately with a nasty tone!”
But as usual, Trump was not being truthful. Here’s Eileen M. Murphy, the Times’s senior vice president for communications:
“We were unaware that the meeting was canceled until we saw the president-elect’s tweet this morning. We did not change the ground rules at all and made no attempt to. They tried to yesterday — asking for only a private meeting and no on-the-record segment, which we refused to agree to. In the end, we concluded with them that we would go back to the original plan of a small off-the-record session and a larger on-the-record session with reporters and columnists.”
So what’s going on here? For one thing, a Times story published on Monday evening that reported that Trump had encouraged his good buddy Nigel Farage to oppose wind farms in the U.K.—a longtime bugaboo of his Scottish golf course—seems to have gotten under Trump’s skin. He tweeted this last night:
But it’s likely that there is a master plan at work here. In the general election, as Chris Hayes wrote last night, Trump had the perfect opponent in Hillary Clinton, who was representative of the elite and corrupt class he railed against, and who was (nearly) as unpopular as he was. Trump now has no such adversary, which bodes poorly for his presidency. His popularity may be rising, but it is still historically low for a president-elect.
So Trump has decided to turn the media into the new Hillary Clinton, which helps explain why his team leaked to The New York Post that Trump screamed at various network heads and anchors yesterday and why he has devoted most of his social media activity to slamming various media organs.
As Slate’s Seth Stevenson wrote shortly after the election, Trump turned the media into a literal symbol of the elites that he intended to conquer once elected—and it worked. Without a Clinton-esque adversary in Congress—Chuck Schumer doesn’t seem up for the role—Trump will go back to what works and what he knows best: bashing the media.