The White House said on Thursday it is planning to order United States 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.
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 false label he has used to describe coverage that he views as unfavourable.
“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 US 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 any more. 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 US 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 US House of Representatives’s impeachment inquiry.
The investigation, which was launched last month, stems from a July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in which Trump pressed Zelenskyy to investigate the family of one of Trump’s political rivals, leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.