'Enemy of the People': Trump Blasts NYT over 'Phony' Pence Hit-Piece


President Trump has called yet another media organ the “enemy of the people” for “fake news.” This time, it’s The New York Times over a story it ran involving an alleged rift between Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The Thursday story, by Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers, was titled “Is Mike Pence Loyal? Trump Is Asking, Despite His Recent Endorsement.”

“In recent weeks, with his electoral prospects two years from now much on his mind, Mr. Trump has focused on the person who has most publicly tethered his fortunes to him. In one conversation after another he has asked aides and advisers a pointed question: Is Mike Pence loyal?” the piece states.

“Mr. Trump has repeated the question so many times that he has alarmed some of his advisers. The president has not openly suggested dropping Mr. Pence from the ticket and picking another running mate, but the advisers say those kinds of questions usually indicate that he has grown irritated with someone.”

Haberman and Rogers argue, apparently using sources inside the White House, that Pence “may have used up his utility” electorally. While Pence had helped seal a relationship with evangelical voters, anonymous sources told The TImes, they believe that relationship is solidified.

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Instead, the advisers say, the president needs someone to help him with women voters.

Another issue of contention, the piece argued, is that Pence “issued a disapproving statement” when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was released, something that the president hasn’t forgotten.

Trump wasn’t happy about The Times article, which he called “phony.”

“The New York Times did a phony story, as usual, about my relationship with @VP Mike Pence. They made up sources and refused to ask me, the only one that would know, for a quote,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“I can’t imagine any President having a better or closer relationship with their Vice President then the two of us. Just more FAKE NEWS, the Enemy of the People!”

Even Haberman and Rogers seem to admit that there’s a very good possibility they’re just reporting on idle chatter, all through the personage of Dan Pfeiffer, a former communications director in the Obama administration.

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“The idea of changing a ticket has been discussed by at least some aides in every White House and it almost never happens,” Pfeiffer said.

“I would also say the electoral significance of the vice-presidential nominee is one of the most overrated things in U.S. politics, particularly in a re-election, which is almost always a referendum on the performance of the president.”

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Pfeiffer even notes that aides for Obama considered replacing Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton in 2012.

It was idle chatter then, and it’s idle chatter now.

The likelihood of Trump replacing Pence doesn’t exactly seem that high and the only alternative the authors seem to be able to point to is outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, whom “outside advisers” have suggested. The article admits the president and vice president speak on a daily basis, sometimes on several occasions, but merely posit that “some of Mr. Trump’s advisers believe that the dynamic between the president and Mr. Pence has changed in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s term, part of a pattern in many of Mr. Trump’s relationships.”

That’s a reach, at best.

With Democrats heading into what’s clearly going to be a bruising, fratricidal nominating process for the 2020 election, with control of the party’s future at stake, liberal outlets like The Times would love for Americans to think both parties are being riven by leadership struggles at the top — that it’s not just Democrats who are involved in a brutal power struggle.

In other words, this isn’t a scoop so much Times wishful thinking.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture