Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has been getting into good trouble on stories covering Donald Trump's corruption ever since the 2016 campaign. So much good trouble, in fact, Fahrenthold won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for his coverage of the now-defunct Donald J. Trump Foundation, which had been nothing but a scam charity since its founding.
But as of Thursday, Trump had had enough. In response to a story Fahrenthold was reporting about Trump's company charging the U.S. government (i.e. taxpayers) nearly a million dollars in room rentals and resort fees, a White House spokesperson threatened the reporter.
“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop,” Deere wrote in his statement. “Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”
Fahrenthold was trying to get a handle on how much in total the U.S. government has paid to Trump's properties, which remains unknown, partly because neither the White House nor Trump Org has disclosed the transactions. But even the $900,000 that has been documented runs against a Trump campaign pledge not to use the presidency to boost his businesses.
In fact, Trump said he simply wouldn't visit his properties if he were elected in order to steer clear of any conflicts of interest.
“I may never see these places again,” Trump said of his properties at a rally in August 2016. “Because I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf. Believe me.”
Believe me. It's always a tell that Trump means exactly, precisely the opposite. What he really meant was that he would turn in more days at the links—almost always at his own properties—than almost any other president in modern American politics save one, Woodrow Wilson.
What Trump has achieved that Wilson likely didn't was trampling all over the First Amendment by threatening an American reporter for simply doing his job.
And really, reporters and the American people should take note, because this is only the beginning of Trump targeting the press if he wins reelection. Trump, who has already trampled the Constitution, will proceed with shredding it in every way possible until it's unrecognizable. He will eventually find his way to locking up anyone he perceives as too much of a threat, reporters included. Or perhaps his enemies will start mysteriously falling out windows at some point.