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Trump campaign says it will ban Bloomberg reporters from events, rallies

The news outlet, owned by Michael Bloomberg, announced it would not investigate its boss or other Democratic candidates but would continue to cover Trump.
Image: President Donald Trump speaks to the press before boarding Air Force One on Oct. 28, 2019.
President Trump's re-election campaign has barred employees of Bloomberg News from covering rallies and other events. Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

President Donald Trump's re-election campaign said Monday that it would no longer credential reporters from Bloomberg News to attend campaign events after the organization announced that it would not investigate its boss, Michael Bloomberg, or his rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

"The decision by Bloomberg News to formalize preferential reporting policies is troubling and wrong," campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. "Bloomberg News has declared that they won’t investigate their boss or his Democrat competitors, many of whom are current holders of high office, but will continue critical reporting on President Trump."

“Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events," Parscale added. "We will determine whether to engage with individual reporters or answer inquiries from Bloomberg News on a case-by-case basis. This will remain the policy of the Trump campaign until Bloomberg News publicly rescinds its decision."

Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait responded moments later, saying in a statement that the "accusation of bias couldn't be further from the truth."

"We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015 and will continue to do so despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump campaign," he said.

Trump weighed in later Monday.

Last week, Micklethwait announced in a memo to staffers that the outlet won't do in-depth investigative reporting on Bloomberg or his rivals now that the company's billionaire owner had jumped into the race. The news outlet said this was in keeping with its practice of not investigating Bloomberg, like when he was the mayor of New York, and it extended the policy to his Democratic rivals out of fairness, the publication said.

"We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries," Micklethwait wrote. "We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him."

But Micklethwait said the organization will still investigate the Trump administration, calling it "the government of the day." The policy could change if Bloomberg were to win the nomination, Micklethwait wrote, adding that Bloomberg News will publish investigations or summaries of them from other publications on Bloomberg and his Democratic rivals.

Bloomberg owns roughly 90 percent of Bloomberg L.P., the financial software company he co-founded that owns Bloomberg News.

According to Micklethwait's memo, some of the news outlet's opinion columnists would take a leave of absence to join the campaign. Several high-level Bloomberg L.P. employees have also joined.

Trump's 2016 campaign, citing unfair coverage, barred a number of outlets from officially covering its events, among them BuzzFeed, Politico and The Des Moines Register.