Responding to a Sunday Wall Street Journal editorial titled “The Election for Pennsylvania’s High Court,” the former president wrote, “Well actually, the election was rigged, which you, unfortunately, still haven’t figured out.”
He then provided a bulleted list of “examples” of voter fraud in Pennsylvania to support his claims, relying repeatedly on data from Audit the Vote PA, an organization that has no real experience in assessing elections and has promoted unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
Multiple audits into the state’s 2020 election results affirmed the vote count, and numerous lawsuits challenging the results failed in court. There is no evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state’s election.
The Wall Street Journal published Trump’s letter without noting these facts. The former president was deplatformed from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites earlier this year after spreading disinformation about the election for months and inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol to try and overturn the results.
Since then, Trump has resorted to campaign-style rallies and tweet-like statements released through his spokesperson to spread his lies.
Media critics, journalists and political commentators slammed the Journal Wednesday for giving Trump another platform for disinformation and for passing off his false claims as “opinion.”
“Trump couldn’t post this on Facebook but the editors at the WSJ collectively decided to put it on their platform. Think about that. And they think they can distance themselves from it by doing it as an LTE. As of that magically absolves them from pushing the lies,” tweeted Amanda Carpenter, political columnist for The Bulwark.
Jordan Fischer, an investigative reporter for Washington, D.C., channel WUSA9, called it a “new low” for the Journal’s opinion section.
“Today they printed a litany of election falsehoods from former President Trump – without even a single mention of the fact that their own editorial side has thoroughly debunked these claims,” he tweeted.
Washington Post national correspondent Philip Bump made 14 observations about the letter’s veracity and observed that “the Journal would have been better served had it explained why it chose to run the letter without contextualizing it, since that might have at least offered some clarity on the otherwise inexplicable decision.” He noted that the paper had, up to that point, declined to comment on its rationale.
In response to a request for comment, a Journal spokesperson directed HuffPost to a new editorial published by the newspaper’s board on Thursday addressing the backlash.
The editorial argues that Trump’s “2020 monomania is news, and it reflects on his fitness for 2024” and argued that media “attempts to censor Mr. Trump have done nothing to diminish his popularity.”
“We trust our readers to make up their own minds about his statement,” the editorial read. “And we think it’s news when an ex-President who may run in 2024 wrote what he did, even if (or perhaps especially if) his claims are bananas.”
The editorial went on to debunk some of Trump’s claims, noting that “it’s difficult to respond to everything, and the asymmetry is part of the former President’s strategy.”
“He tosses off enough unsourced numbers in 30 seconds to keep a fact-checker busy for 30 days. When one claim is refuted, Mr. Trump is back with two more,” the paper said.