Yesterday, in response to the Op-Ed written by an anonymous top official in the Trump administration published by The New York Times on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sounded a call to arms to MAGA-land.
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She took to Twitter to ask Trump supporters to call up the Times and ask them about the identity of the mysterious official. It was a thinly veiled call for harassment and an especially dangerous tactic given the wave of animosity the president has engendered against the free press in some segments of this country.
What Huckabee Sanders was essentially encouraging was for brain-dead, hateful people to call a newspaper and hurl racial slurs and death threats at hard-working journalists. The tweet could have easily ended in violence against innocent people.
For those of you asking for the identity of the anonymous coward: pic.twitter.com/RpWYPHa6To
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) September 6, 2018
Unfortunately for the president’s paid liar, her tweet had an unintended effect. HuffPost reports that some callers, instead of harassing and threatening the Times employees, called to thank them.
One woman called to thank the Times’s Kenneth Vogel “a million times” for publishing the editorial. She said it made her feel more hopeful about the government than she has in a long time and that she is “so grateful” for their hard work. Vogel shared the recording on Twitter.
Not sure this is what @PressSec had in mind when she urged people to call The New York Times general switchboard to demand the identity of the writer of the anonymous op-ed. pic.twitter.com/B2ZMEFya6t
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) September 6, 2018
Elizabeth Dias of the Times responded to Vogel’s tweet to say that she also received a similar call that acknowledged Huckabee Sanders’s call for Americans to complain but instead offered support of the Times.
I got a similar call amid all the calls demanding an answer: "Well, Sarah Sanders left your number so we could complain, but I support the New York Times. I'm from Nebraska. Go, New York Times!" https://t.co/kXd2Mf9PfE
— Elizabeth Dias (@elizabethjdias) September 6, 2018
Amy Fiscus of the Times tweeted that “many” people have called in with messages of support and thanks for the continued coverage of the Trump administration. In other words, the offices have been inundated with the exact opposite of what Trump’s spokeswoman was hoping for. Clearly, she grossly overestimated the American people’s support for their disastrous president.
After @PressSec directed people to call the @nytimes and ask the opinion section to out the Op-Ed writer, many have called instead to voice their support for the Op-Ed and the NYT news coverage of the Trump administration. “Print the news, honey!” one told @Emily_Baum
— Amy Fiscus (@amyfiscus) September 6, 2018
While it’s nice to hear that callers are throwing their support behind the hard-working journalists that have been constantly attacked and mocked by President Trump, it doesn’t excuse Huckabee Sanders for making her tweet in the first place. It was a clear abuse of her power and another escalation in this White House’s assault on one of the pillars of this democracy.