“And I think I am, too,” Mr. Trump interjected. “I want to be. I want to be.” He quickly added: “I guess the one thing I do feel, because you look at network coverage, it’s so bad.”
The interview arose from a dinner invitation extended by the president to Mr. Sulzberger, who assumed leadership of The Times a little more than a year ago, when he replaced his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., in a generational changing of the guard. Instead of a dinner, the publisher requested an on-the-record session, with Times reporters included, and Mr. Trump agreed.
It was not the first time that the two men had debated Mr. Trump’s rhetoric concerning the press.
In July, the publisher met with the president in the Oval Office for an off-the-record chat. Nine days later, Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he and Mr. Sulzberger had discussed “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Sad!”
That same day, the publisher released a statement saying that the president had misrepresented their exchange. He called Mr. Trump’s attacks on journalism “dangerous and harmful to our country.”
On Thursday, the publisher urged Mr. Trump to reconsider his denigration of the press.
“The effects are not just being felt with the outlets who you feel are treating you unfairly,” he said. “They’re being felt all over the world, including folks who are literally putting their lives on the line to report the truth.”
“I understand that,” Mr. Trump replied before pivoting, once again, to complaints about how he has been covered.
“I don’t mind a bad story if it’s true, I really don’t,” the president said. “You know, we’re all, like, big people. We understand what’s happening. I’ve had bad stories, very bad stories where I thought it was true and I would never complain. But when you get really bad stories, where it’s not true, then you sort of say, ‘That’s unfair.’”