News & Politics

Trump Revealed the Real Reason He Attacks the Press in Off-Camera Meeting

He didn't even hide his authoritarian strategy.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

After he won the Republican Party's nomination for president, Donald Trump finally explained why he attacks the press. CBS News veteran journalist Leslie Stahl revealed what then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump told her, when she spoke in New York City at the Deadline Club's Awards Dinner Monday evening.

Trump has a long and ugly history of attacking the press. For example, here he is one week before the 2016 election, calling out the "dishonest" press and even one NBC News journalist. It wasn't the first time Trump had singled Katy Tur out by name. Months earlier he did and it was so bad she had to be escorted to safety by the Secret Service after his attack.

So what Trump told Stahl should come as no surprise.

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He said, according to the CBS News veteran journalist, that he attacks the press to "discredit" them – so at some point Americans will no longer believe the media.

Stahl, a reporter since the 1970's, was the first to interview Trump after he won the election. On Monday evening she told the assembled group of journalists that before she won that prestigious interview she had met with him in Trump Tower.

"He really is the same off camera that he is on camera," she said, explaining the only ones present at that meeting were Trump, her editor, and herself.

"At one point he started to attack the press," Stahl told reporters.

"There were no cameras, and I said, 'You know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this? You're doing it over and over and it's boring an it's time to end that. You won the nomination – why do you keep hammering at this?'" she says she asked.

"'You know why I do it?'"  Stahl says Trump admitted. "'I do it to discredit you all, to demean you all so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.'"

The Intercept's Vanessa Gezari was the first to break the news, which she did via Twitter.

Stahl's co-host at the event, PBS veteran journalist Judy Woodruff looked at her, and shook her head.

The Deadline Club posted video of Stahl and Woodruff. The entire exchange is interesting. It's cued up to the relevant portion:

Many on social media expressed surprise. Not at what he said – it's been obvious for years – but that he actually admitted it.

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