WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to sue the Pulitzer Prize board if it does not rescind two award-winning investigative stories by ProPublica and The New York Times, which have detailed Trump’s alleged connections to Russia.
In a series of tweets early Tuesday, Trump called the articles “fake news,” and complained that the prize-winning journalists whose work was quoted had not publicly stated whether or not they were the sources in the articles.
The action was Trump’s latest effort to discredit the “Fake News Pulitzer Prize,” which the Pulitzer committee announced late last month as part of its annual awards. Trump has criticized the committee for giving the prize to “failing” Washington Post reporters David Fahrenthold and Dana Priest, whose work includes a story about Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador.
The Pulitzer Board has honored the work of four reporters from The Washington Post, one from The New York Times and two from ProPublica, the Pulitzer Committee announced late last month. Read the full list. https://t.co/U49Dn99vUD — The Pulitzer Prize (@pulitzerprize) October 31, 2017
ProPublica and The Times awarded journalism awards for their 2016 investigation into the inner workings of Trump’s campaign and a 2017 follow-up that revealed that the president’s eldest son took unprecedented meetings with Russians he was told had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
The journalist whose work appeared as an unsigned note in last month’s announcement did not identify himself. Trump said on Twitter, “They should have named Pulitzer Prize winner Dana Priest and David Fahrenthold instead.”
They should have named Pulitzer Prize winner Dana Priest and David Fahrenthold instead. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2017
A Watergate veteran, Fahrenthold said he was reluctant to talk about the award while it is still in the process of being awarded.
“I never want to say I’m not surprised and I’m not going to be part of this thing that gets kicked around and smeared,” he said.
Trump’s communications director, Hope Hicks, declined to comment. An attorney for The Times, David McCraw, said Trump was free to threaten but that lawsuits are “not something we think is in the best interest of our readers.”
The publisher of The New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, responded to Trump’s threat with “an open invitation to do a face-to-face interview with his readers in which we can answer their questions and listen to their perspectives.”