President Donald Trump continues to lavish attention on the New York Times, in an effort to win more positive coverage from his hometown paper.
The president welcomed New York Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker to the Oval Office for an interview Thursday as well as publisher A. G. Sulzberger.
A transcript of the lengthy discussion about the media, the news and the freedom of the press was published by the Times.
“I came from Jamaica, Queens, Jamaica Estates, and I became president of the United States,” Trump told them. “I’m sort of entitled to a great story — just one — from my newspaper.”
The president expressed his willingness to speak with either of the two reporters on the record to discuss their stories before they were published.
“If I were a reporter and I called somebody and they didn’t call me back, I’d probably be psychologically, maybe not even on purpose, I would probably be inclined to do bad stories,” he said.
Trump complained about stories written by Baker in recent weeks.
“Peter’s been very tough on us the last couple of months,” he said. “I don’t know why, because I really think I’m doing a great job.”
Sulzberger objected, noting that every president felt that the Times treated them unfairly.
“The centrality of a free press and the First Amendment, demands that a free press asks tough questions and hold the powerful to account,” he said.
Sulzberger said that Trump should feel free to criticize the New York Times for their coverage, but said that his denigration of the entire media was uncomfortable.
“The broad-based attacks on journalism and journalists continue to have seems to be growing,” he warned Trump, pointing to the Saudi’s murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi as an example.
Sulzberger reminded Trump that Hillary Clinton also complained about tough stories they did during the campaign, but said that they would not back down from aggressive coverage of political figures.
Going forward, Trump had some advice for the Times reporters.
“I will tell you, I would love if I was just covered fairly. If I were covered fairly — like this should be a fair story,” Trump said. “I don’t know what the story is, this should be a fair story. I actually think your readers would respect it.”