President-elect Donald Trump backed out of a meeting he had called with The New York Times on Tuesday.
Trump had asked for the meeting with Times executives, and also agreed to meet on the record with reporters and columnists.
He claimed on Twitter that the “terms and conditions” were changed at the last minute.
“Not nice,” Trump said in an early morning tweet. He called the newspaper “failing,” a favorite insult.
In a second tweet minutes later, the president-elect said: “Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!”
A front-page story in The Times on Tuesday questioned whether Trump’s business deals will test a provision of the Constitution that blocks office-holders from accepting certain gifts and profits from foreign governments.
The Times and other news organizations have also reported extensively on the unprecedented conflicts of interest posed by Trump’s hundreds of business holdings around the world.
There was a third tweet. Trump said the New York Times had “announced” that “complaints about them are at a 15 year high.”
That references a November 19 article from the newspaper’s public editor, Liz Spayd, who said that the number of complaints coming into the public editor’s office is “five times the normal level” — the largest since September 11, 2001. She said “there is a searing level of dissatisfacton out there with many aspects of the coverage.”
Trump responded that he “can fully understand that,” but he wondered why the paper would announce that complaints were up. The reason, simply, is that the role of the public editor is to critique the newspaper’s coverage and serve as liaison between readers and the editors.
The Times said it only learned through Trump’s tweets that the meeting was off.
“We did not change the ground rules at all and made no attempt to,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told CNNMoney.
She said Trump’s representatives had asked only for a private meeting, with nothing on the record. But she said the two sides later agreed to 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 executives and anchors from the nation’s biggest television networks to Trump Tower. Sources told CNN that he complained about media coverage and was highly critical of CNN and other news organizations.
The sources said he also answered questions, listened to journalists’ arguments about the importance of access, and committed to making improvements.