Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has denied The Des Moines Register press credentials to gain access to a candidate event scheduled for Saturday in Oskaloosa.
The reason: an editorial published by the newspaper last Tuesday calling on Trump to quit the Republican race.
Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich was informed Friday that she had been denied a credential to the event, a “family picnic” featuring Trump that will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the George Daily Community Auditorium in Oskaloosa.
Trump’s national campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told Obradovich in a phone call that the Register was being excluded from the event because of the editorial.
The Register’s editorial board operates independently from the editors and reporters who conduct political coverage.
In a subsequent conversation with the Register’s chief political reporter, Jennifer Jacobs, Lewandowski reiterated that news staffers were being denied access because of the editorial.
“We’re not issuing credentials to anyone from The Des Moines Register based on the editorial that they wrote earlier in the week,” he said.
Lewandowski said he expected the campaign would consider allowing the Register to attend events at some point in the future.
Trump responded to the editorial’s publication almost immediately on Wednesday, denouncing the Register’s coverage as “uneven,” “inconsistent” and “dishonest.” Still, it is highly unusual for a political campaign to deny credentials to a media organization.
Much about Trump’s candidacy has been unusual, though, even as it has succeeded in drawing massive national media exposure and vaulted him to the top of many national polls on the Republican race.
In a statement, Amalie Nash, the Register’s editor and vice president for audience engagement, emphasized the division between the newspaper’s news and opinion desks.
“We are disappointed that Mr. Trump’s campaign has taken the unusual step of excluding Register reporters from covering his campaign event in Iowa on Saturday because he was displeased with our editorial,” she said. “As we previously said, the editorial has no bearing on our news coverage. We work hard to provide Iowans with coverage of all the candidates when they spend time in Iowa, and this is obviously impeding our ability to do so. We hope Mr. Trump’s campaign will revisit its decision instead of making punitive decisions because we wrote something critical of him.”
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