The Trumps aren’t the biggest fans of the press—these days, the president has soured on even his once-beloved Fox News. But his son Eric, who serves as Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, took things a step further Friday when he revealed not only his antipathy towards journalism, but a complete confusion over how the job works in the first place.
Trump took to Twitter to share an email Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, who covers the president’s businesses, sent to a Trump Organization employee. “These are the tactics used by the Washington Post,” wrote Trump, tagging the paper and its owner. “Jeff Bezos—you should be very proud.” Yes, these are Fahrenthold’s insidious tactics—introducing himself and sharing his contact information.
Reporters contact potential sources all the time—it’s one of the basics of the job. And while the media regularly covers the business practices of many companies, the businesses owned by the President of the United States are obviously of particular national importance.
In a video The Washington Post posted to Twitter in response to Trump’s tweet, Fahrenthold helpfully explained how his job works. “This is a kind of an email that I send all the time,” he said. “A lot of journalism is finding people who know something you want to know, but you don’t know them and they don’t know you.”
Fahrenthold also explained why he covers his particular beat. “We’ve never had a president like this, that kept ownership of his business and brought it with him into the White House,” he said. “And if you don’t understand what’s happening with [his businesses], it’s difficult to understand what conflicts of interests they may be posing for President Trump and how he’s navigating them.”
“That’s why we’re here,” he concluded. “It’s to talk to people who know things. If we just stayed here and never made phone calls and never sent emails, we’d never learn anything.”
Twitter users naturally pounced on Trump’s tweet. And as some pointed out, Fahrenthold may have to send fewer emails in the future—Eric Trump just shared his contact information with a whole lot of potential new sources.