President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters for re-election was reportedly packed with newspapers on Sunday that carried a non-existent 2000 front page.
The campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, tweeted front page images under the banner of the Washington Times, a conservative publication founded in 1982.
“Welcome staff at Team Trump HQ this morning, a reminder that the media does not pick the president,” Murtaugh wrote in his tweet.
Uh, the Trump campaign paved their headquarters with a fake newspaper cover that never existed, then their communications director tweeted the picture out. (h/t to @KFILE) pic.twitter.com/1OmhOCEPbh
– Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 8, 2020
One headline on this page was “President Gore”, a reference to Al Gore’s presidential race against George W. Bush in 2000, but Gore lost to Bush in the elections that year. The fake headline was printed as if it was an actual article from the Washington Times.
A closer look at the newspaper shows that the main body of the text said that Bush had won the presidency, indicating that the subject might have been changed.
Murtaugh’s tweet has since been deleted, but it was taken as a screenshot by CNN reporter Daniel Dale, who also tweeted: “Uh, the Trump campaign plastered their headquarters with a fake newspaper cover that never existed, then their communications director tweeted the picture out.
The Washington Times has since stated on Twitter that “these photos were faked” and that it “never had a ‘President Gore’ headline”. The newspaper further noted that it had officially notified Murtaugh of his mistake by e-mail.
These photos had been manipulated. The Washington Times never carried a “President Gore” headline.
– The Washington Times (@WashTimes) November 8, 2020
The pictures of the fake front page made the rounds in the social media later on Sunday.
ICYMI, Trump’s communications director, tweeted (and then deleted) this Photoshop-edited 2000 cover, why did he delete it? Because the Washington Times came into contact with the real front page. Your own goals don’t get much more spectacular than that. @newscomauHQ pic.twitter.com/HMmy4isvR8
– Rohan Smith (@Ro_Smith) November 8, 2020
A trump card campaign game in three acts: pic.twitter.com/NKJRWwYyVL
– Monica Alba (@albamonica) November 8, 2020
The Trump campaign did not respond in time for publication to Washington Newsday’s request for comment. Murtagh told Axios Sunday that he did not know the front page of the newspaper was a fake and that he deleted his tweet as soon as it was discovered.
Murtaugh’s tweet fits in with a criticism the President had voiced to the media earlier on Sunday about the early announcement of the election results.
Trumpf tweets: “Since when does Lamestream Media name who our next president will be? We have all learned a lot in the last two weeks!”
The President’s tweet also takes up comments from Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
“The media is desperately trying to get everyone to crown Joe Biden as the next president,” Cruz said at a Fox News appearance on Sunday. “But that’s not how it works, the media doesn’t have the power to elect our president, the American people have the power to elect our president.