Donald Trump's campaign revoked The Washington Post's press credentials on Monday, the latest salvo in an unprecedented assault on the media this election cycle.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has routinely blasted journalists, pundits, and news organizations to his millions of followers on social media in response to critical coverage and perceived slights. In a Monday Facebook post, Trump said the "phony and dishonest" Post was losing its press credentials due to its "incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign."
In a subsequent Facebook post, Trump criticized the Post for reporting on his suggestion that Obama identifies with terrorists and is somehow linked to Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
Trump's announcement about revoking the Post's credentials came after the paper changed the headline he cited to, "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting."
“We changed the headline shortly after it posted to more properly reflect what Trump said,” a Post spokeswoman told HuffPost. “We did so on our own; the Trump campaign never contacted us about it.”
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not respond to a request for comment.
The campaign's decision "is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press," said Marty Baron, the Post's executive editor.
"When coverage doesn’t correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished," Baron said. "The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along – honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We’re proud of our coverage, and we’re going to keep at it.”
The Trump campaign has denied press credentials to numerous outlets this year, including The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, Univision, Fusion, Mother Jones, Politico and the National Review. His team has also placed severe restrictions on journalists who do receive credentials, often barring reporters from leaving the designated "press pen." Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski threatened to blacklist a reporter for leaving the pen at an event and physically grabbed another while she was attempting to ask Trump a question.
The Post, which took Trump's campaign seriously in the spring of 2015 when many other media outlets did not, has enjoyed good access to the candidate since then. Trump has given several interviews to reporter Robert Costa and others covering the race for the paper.
But the relationship began showing signs of strain after The Post deployed dozens of journalists to investigating Trump's past for an upcoming book. And recently, reporter David Fahrenthold attracted Trump's ire after pressing his campaign for months about his claims that he donated $6 million to veterans' groups.
Last month, Trump accused Post owner and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos of using the paper's influence to reduce his technology company's taxes. "Amazon is getting away with murder, tax-wise," Trump said in a Fox News interview, suggesting that Bezos is wielding the Post against his campaign out of fear that he'd tackle Amazon's "huge antitrust problem" as president.
“Amazon is controlling so much of what they’re doing,” Trump said. “And what they’ve done is he bought this paper for practically nothing, and he’s using that as a tool for political power against me and against other people, and I’ll tell you what, we can’t let him get away with it.”
Trump's threats are “not an appropriate way for a presidential candidate to behave,” Bezos said last month at a Q&A session moderated by Baron, who has said the paper's owner isn't interfering in election coverage.
"I can say categorically that I have received no instructions from Jeff Bezos regarding our coverage of the presidential campaign — or, for that matter, any other subject," he said.
This article has been updated to include comment from The Washington Post.