Florida county backs Trump, refuses to bring New York Times to library computers

"Fake news, OK, I agree with President Trump," Commissioner Scott Carnahan said. "I don’t want the New York Times in this county."
Image: Bill Cunningham Remembered
"Do we really need to subscribe to The New York Times?" asked a county commissioner in Florida. Mike Coppola / Getty Images file

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By David K. Li

A Florida librarian wants to buy his members a digital subscription to The New York Times, which drew sharp disapproval from local lawmakers supporting President Donald Trump.

During an Oct. 24 meeting of the Citrus County Board of Commissioners, lawmakers were asked to approve a digital subscription to the paper which would cost $2,657.20 a year for the first two years and then $2,714.40 for the third.

County staffers recommended the purchase but it never even got a vote.

"Do we really need to subscribe to The New York Times?" Commissioner Rob Kitchen said.

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Commissioner Scott Carnahan then jumped in to say he supported Trump's ongoing objection to the paper's coverage of him and his administration.

"Fake news, OK, I agree with President Trump," Carnahan said. "I don’t want The New York Times in this county."

Carnahan made it clear he does not like the paper's content.

"I don’t agree with it, I don't like them," he added. "It’s fake news and I'm voting no."

Carnahan didn't even need to cast a "no" as the five-member board refused to bring it to a vote.

The Citrus County dispute came as Trump ordered all federal agencies to stop any subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

County staffers, however, seem to believe the commissioners might change their minds. That agenda item will reappear on the board's Nov. 19 agenda, county spokeswoman Cynthia Oswald told NBC News on Tuesday.

The library, which serves 70,000 members at five locations, currently has no digital newspaper subscriptions. The system has hard-copy subscriptions to The Citrus County Chronicle, The New York Times, The Tampa Bay Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Citrus County has nearly 148,000 residents, according to the most recent Census data. Citrus County voters went decidedly for Trump in the 2016 election, casting 67.7 percent of ballots for him and just 28.3 percent for Hillary Clinton.