Trump calls the New York Times 'a virtual lobbyist' against GOP tax bill

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
Yahoo News photo illustration; photos: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images, NYT, Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump lashed out at the New York Times on Thursday after the newspaper’s editorial board published the office numbers of Republican senators on Twitter, urging readers to call to oppose the GOP tax reform bill.

“The Failing @nytimes, the pipe organ for the Democrat Party, has become a virtual lobbyist for them with regard to our massive Tax Cut Bill,” Trump tweeted. “They are wrong so often that now I know we have a winner!”

“The Failing @nytimes has totally gone against the Social Media Guidelines that they installed to preserve some credibility after many of their biased reporters went Rogue!” the president added, tagging his favorite morning television program, “Fox & Friends.”

Last month, the Times unveiled a new set of social media guidelines for its newsroom. Among other things, the paper asked all its reporters — not just those covering politics — to refrain from partisan messages on social media. But Clifford Levy, the paper’s deputy managing editor who co-authored the guidelines, tweeted that they apply to the Times’ newsroom and not its opinion section.

On Wednesday, the editorial board took control of the Twitter feed for the Times’ opinion section, tweeting out the office phone numbers for key GOP lawmakers — including Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Jeff Flake — in a deliberate effort to oppose the version of the tax bill currently up for debate in the U.S. Senate.

“The editorial board has been writing for weeks about concerns over the tax legislation pending in Congress,” a New York Times spokeswoman told Politico on Wednesday. “This was an experiment in using a different platform to get that message out. We emphasized to our audience that this was the position of the editorial board in particular, not of Times Opinion generally.”

On Thursday, the paper published a scathing editorial that accused the Republican-controlled Senate of “rushing to pass its tax bill because it stinks.”

“As more senators show signs of sacrificing their principles and embracing the Republican tax bill for minor and nebulous concessions, it bears looking more closely at the process that produced this terrible legislation and some of its lesser-known provisions,” the board said. “The Senate tax bill, a 515-page mammoth, was introduced just last week, and the chamber could vote on it as soon as Thursday. This is not how lawmakers are supposed to pass enormous pieces of legislation.”

“It took several years to put together the last serious tax bill, passed in 1986,” the board continued. “Congress and the Reagan administration worked across party lines, produced numerous drafts, held many hearings and struck countless compromises. This time it’s not about true reform but about speed and bowling over the opposition in hopes of claiming a partisan victory.”

In a speech in St. Charles, Mo., on Wednesday, Trump said that he hopes lawmakers will bring the bill to a vote by the end of the week.

“I would say do it now,” the president said. “We’re ready.”

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