Eric Trump took some heat on Twitter on Friday for apparently not understanding that part of a reporter’s job is to reach out to sources for stories. Trump tweeted a screenshot of a message from Washington Post journalist David Fahrenthold to a Trump Organization employee. In the email, Fahrenthold introduced himself and shared his contact information and said that he’d been open to citing said employee as a background source. He also offered a link where the person could upload documents anonymously.
Trump made it clear that he did not like Fahrenthold’s “tactics.’
“These are the tactics used by the @WashingtonPost. @JeffBezos- you should be very proud,” Trump wrote.
But many Twitter users assured him that the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter was using standard journalistic practice.
“An Eric Trump self-own doesn’t exactly merit comment these days but this is actually an inadvertent public service for aspiring investigative journos: there’s nobody better than @Fahrenthold and this kind of wide-net, low-yield fishing is how some of the best reporting gets done,” tweeted Patrick Radden Keefe, staff writer at The New Yorker.
As The Washington Post reports, Fahrenthold won the Pulitzer for reporting on the Trump Foundation, so that could explain Eric Trump’s apparent disapproval of his email.
He investigated Donald Trump’s “philanthropy” and found that the president hadn’t donated any of his personal money to his foundation since 2008. The foundation was not legally permitted to get external donations,,which led the state of New York to rescind its ability to fundraise. Fahrenthold’s investigative reporting also found indications that Donald Trump had used his foundation’s revenue to purchase items for himself and his for-profit company. This could violate “self-dealing” laws.
Fahrenthold also broke the story about the Access Hollywood tape in which Donald Trump boasted about groping women. The revelation triggered large scale protests ahead of the 2016 presidential election and the president eventually said that the tape was just an example of locker-room talk.
The reaction to Eric Trump’s tweet caused his name to trend on Twitter for hours on Friday. However, it seems clear that it drummed up a lot of support for David Fahrenthold as many people praised him for the professionalism he displayed in the email. He hasn’t tweeted about Trump publicizing the letter as of yet, and hasn’t shown that he’s aware of the attention the situation is getting.
Eric Trump hasn’t used his Twitter account to directly respond to the backlash either.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 6, 2019
Lol is this supposed to make Fahrenthold look bad? He looks like a total pro here https://t.co/nsOOGAqvxe
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) September 6, 2019