UPDATE, Sunday 9:06 am The Washington Post will not fire reporter Dave Weigel for the crowd-size photo he tweeted, despite the some Oval Office huffing and puffing. A WaPo press statement released last night reads: “Dave Weigel relied on an inaccurate image in tweeting about President Trump’s rally in Pensacola. When others pointed out the mistake to Weigel, he quickly deleted the tweet. And when he was later addressed by the president on Twitter, he promptly apologized for it.”
Trump wasn’t satisfied with Weigel’s apology over the soon-viral rafter tweet, and said yesterday the reporter should be fired. The president claimed Weigel knew the Pensacola venue was “packed” when the reporter tweeted a photo of a sparse crowd, a claim not supported by Weigel’s explanation. (See the tweets below)
Previous, 3:03 pm A Washington Post reporter – and much of the internet – was skeptical of Donald Trump’s “packed to the rafters” crowd size boast from Florida last night, but the president might get the last laugh this time around. Not to mention more grist for his “Fake News” mill.
WaPo reporter Dave Weigel has apologized to Trump, via twitter, for retweeting a much-shared photo of a much-empty Pensacola Bay Center. Trump appeared at the venue Friday to urge Alabama voters to “get out and vote” for Senatorial candidate (and alleged minor-molester) Roy Moore.
After the rally, Trump tweeted a “Thank You Pensacola!” message, noting that the arena “was packed to the rafters.”
In a replay of his inauguration crowd-size debacle, a photo of a not-packed arena hit the internet. The photo, though, apparently was taken earlier in the evening, before Trump’s speech.
Just after 5 pm ET today, Trump tweeted, “@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. Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo!”
Weigel deleted the photo and apologized (“Sure thing,” he tweeted to Trump. “I apologize”) before pointing out that the “bad tweet” on his personal account was “not a story for Washington Post.” Trump has not acknowledged his own error.
But wait. Was the empty-venue photo really taken “hours before” Trump arrived, as the president said? As Weigel (and others) have pointed out, the image seems to show Trump at the venue at the time (lower right hand corner of the photo). That image, too, has been making the internet rounds, ensuring that Raftergate might continue to distract some from Trump’s endorsement of alleged mall troll Moore for at least a little bit longer.
Here are the tweets, from the beginning:
Weigel, clearly making the best of a high-profile situation, used his newfound spotlight for some product plugging second only to Donald Trump Jr.’s earlier tweet today shilling for Trump Store stocking stuffers. This tweet from Weigel sat atop the reporter’s Twitter page tonight:
Some other folks have also weighed in: