Trump to meet with the New York Times after abruptly canceling talk

·Senior Writer

President-elect Donald Trump will meet with the New York Times on Tuesday, hours after abruptly canceling their planned sit-down, claiming the paper had changed its ground rules.

Trump spokesman Hope Hicks told reporters gathered inside Trump Tower on Tuesday morning that the president-elect will travel to the Times offices later in the day. Trump himself tweeted that he was looking forward to it.

“Mr. Trump’s staff has told us that the president-elect’s meeting with The Times is on again,” Eileen Murphy, senior vice president of communications at the Times, said in a statement. “He will meet with our publisher off the record and that session will be followed by an on-the-record meeting with our journalists and editorial columnists.”

The rescheduling came shortly after Trump announced the cancellation on Twitter.

“I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment,” Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning. “Not nice.”

“Perhaps a new meeting will be set up,” Trump added. “In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!”

The Times disputed Trump’s account.

“We were unaware that the meeting was canceled until we saw the president-elect’s tweet this morning,” Murphy said. “We did not change the ground rules at all and made no attempt to.”

According to the Times, it was Team Trump that asked for a private meeting with no on-the-record segment, which the paper refused to agree to. Instead, the Times agreed to “the original plan of a small off-the-record session and a larger on-the-record session with reporters and columnists.”

On Monday, Trump met off the record with dozens of senior executives and anchors from the nation’s biggest broadcast television and cable news networks — including ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News — at Trump Tower. And the president-elect reportedly aired his grievances with them.

According to Politico, Trump singled out NBC and CNN for specific examples of what he described as “the worst” coverage of him.

“Trump turned to NBC News President Deborah Turness at one point,” Politico reported, “and told her the network won’t run a nice picture of him, instead choosing ‘this picture of me,’ as he made a face with a double chin.”

CNN's Wolf Blitzer arrives at Trump Tower for an off-the-record meeting with President-elect Donald Trump on Monday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer arrives at Trump Tower for an off-the-record meeting with President-elect Donald Trump on Monday. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

According to the New York Post, Trump began the meeting by berating CNN chief Jeff Zucker, saying, “I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar, and you should be ashamed.”

A source for the tabloid described the exchange as a “firing squad,” but with Trump doing the firing.

“The meeting was a total disaster,” the Post source said. “The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down.”

But both Politico and CNN said there was at least some progress made, with Trump saying that he wants a “cordial” and “productive” relationship with the media during his tenure in office.

Related: President-elect Trump rips New York Times on Twitter

Off-the-record meetings are not uncommon between the press and elected leaders, including President Obama. And after a grueling campaign, some media outlets see such arrangements as a way of clearing the air.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to the president-elect, told reporters gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower that no clearing of the air was necessary.

“There was no need to mend fences,” Conway said. “It was very cordial, very productive, very congenial. It was also very candid and very honest. From my own perspective, it’s great to hit the reset button.”