- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2019

The New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in a new interview that President Trump has put his reporters’ lives at risk with his “personal attacks” and name-calling.

In an interview with The Guardian published Monday, Mr. Baquet cited Mr. Trump’s repeated insults against The New York Times and specifically political reporter Maggie Haberman as a conscious effort by the president to attack the press.

“I think his personal attacks on reporters, including Maggie, are pretty awful and pretty unpresidential,” he said. “I think personal attacks on journalists, when he calls them names, I think he puts their lives at risk.

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“I think that when he actually calls reporters names, says they’re un-American, says they’re enemies of the people … that phrase has a deep history,” he added. “I think when he says that, it is an appalling attack on the press.”

Despite his own feelings toward Mr. Trump, Mr. Baquet, the newspaper’s first black executive editor, has rebuffed pressure from the left to describe the president’s statements as racist or sexist in the paper’s non-editorial pages.

“I don’t know,” he responded when asked if the president is racist. “I think Donald Trump says racially divisive things. I think that’s a little bit different. I’m not in his head enough to know whether he says them because he wants to stoke his base.

“I will tell you the most powerful writing I’ve ever seen about race, as a black man who grew up in the South, did not use the word ‘racist,’” he continued. “It quoted people saying what they had to say, and described the world they live in. And you made your own judgment. And the judgment was pretty clear. And I think that’s the way to write about Donald Trump and everybody else. It’s just to let them talk.

“The way I see it is, our job is to cover the world with tremendous curiosity,” he added. “And with a desire to understand the people who voted for Donald Trump and why they voted for Donald Trump. I think some of our readers want us to dismiss some of those people. I think that’s not empathetic coverage.”

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