President Donald Trump has called for a Washington Post reporter who shared a misleading photo suggesting low turnout at Trump’s Florida rally to be fired.
Politics reporter Dave Weigel shared images on Twitter showing rows of empty seats in the Pensacola Bay Center, Florida, where Trump held a rally Friday, with the sarcastic comment “packed to the rafters.”
Trump retorted in a tweet later Saturday that the images showed the venue while thousands still waited outside ahead of his speech, and shared pictures which he claimed showed the center filled as he took to the stage.
“@DaveWeigel @WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived @ the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in.”
He continued, “Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo!”
Weigel had deleted the tweet after 20 minutes, and apologized for posting the image—but the president still demanded that he be fired.
"Sure thing: I apologize. I deleted the photo after @dmartosko told me I'd gotten it wrong. Was confused by the image of you walking in the bottom right corner," he tweeted.
“It was a bad tweet on my personal account, not a story for Washington Post. I deleted it after like 20 minutes. Very fair to call me out.”
The president replied: “@daveweigel of the Washignton Post just admitted that his picture was a FAKE (fraud?) showing an almost empty arena last night for my speech in PEnsacola when, in fact, he knew the arena was packed (as shown also on T.V.). FAKE NEWS, he should be fired,” the president tweeted.
Journalists and Obama administration officials defended Weigel on Twitter.
Earlier on Saturday Trump resumed his attacks on “fake news” organizations, after CNN had issued a correction for a story about the Russia probe. The story mistakenly claimed that Donald Trump Jr. had been tipped off about the release of hacked DNC emails by WikiLeaks before they were made public.
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