October 24, 2019 / 8:14 PM / 20 days ago

White House plans to end federal subscriptions to New York Times, Washington Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Thursday it is planning to order federal agencies to end their subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post after repeated criticism of their coverage by President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the exterior of The Washington Post Company headquarters in Washington, March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that the move would generate savings, but Trump on Monday said the White House would likely end its subscriptions to the papers because they are “fake,” a term he has used to describe coverage that he views as unfavorable.

“Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving for taxpayers - hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Grisham said.

It was not immediately clear when the directive would be issued or go into effect. The Wall Street Journal reported the White House’s plan earlier on Tuesday.

The New York Times declined to comment, while the Washington Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has often railed against the coverage of him and his administration and singled out the two newspapers in particular. He has made complaints about the U.S. media a regular staple at his campaign rallies.

Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel on Monday the White House would likely cut its subscriptions to the two newspapers.

“We don’t even want it in the White House anymore. We’re going to probably terminate that (the New York Times) and The Washington Post. They’re fake,” Trump said.

It was not immediately clear how many subscriptions to the two newspapers the U.S. government has. The Washington Post offers free digital access to federal employees with a valid government email address.

Trump is a fervent reader of the two newspapers, a habit he is unlikely to break even after the directive is issued, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The order comes as Trump comes under perhaps the most focused scrutiny of his administration, in the form of the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

The probe, which was launched last month, stems from a July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate the family of one of Trump’s political rivals, leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Reporting by Makini Brice and Steve Holland; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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