NYT editor takes blame for tweet on Trump
President Trump and the New England Patriots called out the New York Times for its interpretation of the size of the team’s Super Bowl delegations to the White House during the Obama and Trump administrations.
Photos tweeted by the Times showed a larger group celebrating the 2015 Super Bowl victory with former president Barack Obama, with both staircases to the South Portico filled with people.
The image from the team’s trip Wednesday showed a smaller group behind President Trump.
The Patriots rarely offer official comments, choosing to remain silent even after the death earlier Wednesday of former tight end Aaron Hernandez. But they clarified a few things after the tweet was widely shared.
The team tweeted that the photos “lacked context” because in 2015, staff members and players posed.
On Wednesday, those staffers were seated in front of the podium on the lawn.
“Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.,” Trump tweeted just before 10 a.m. Thursday.
By midmorning Thursday, Jason Stallman, the Times’ sports editor, had taken responsibility for the tweet in an email to The Washington Post.
“Bad tweet by me. Terrible tweet. I wish I could say it’s complicated, but no, this one is pretty straightforward: I’m an idiot. It was my idea, it was my execution, it was my blunder. I made a decision in about four minutes that clearly warranted much more time.
“Once we learned more, we tried to fix everything as much as possible as swiftly as possible and as transparently as possible. Of course, at that point the damage was done. I just needed to own it.”
The team pointed out that 36 players were at the White House the last time the team won two Super Bowls in three years. On Wednesday, there were 34.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James told the Times that Wednesday’s turnout was about the same as when George W. Bush was president and hosted the team in 2004 and 2005. James added that more than 45 players attended in 2002.
James told the Times that many veterans didn’t see the need to make their second trip in three years.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been a Trump supporter, and Coach Bill Belichick famously wrote him a supportive letter just before the election last year.