The Off and On Again Trump/NYT Meeting Was the Result of a Reince Priebus Miscommunication?

And Twitter confirmations are totally the future of meetings.

The New York Times’ scheduled meeting with President-elect Trump, cancelled earlier in the morning by Trump via Twitter, unbeknownst to The New York Times, was later deemed back on, also via tweet, as well as regular channels of communication, like spokespeople, as the Times reported.

The original reason for the cancellation, according to Trump’s Twitter feed, was because “the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment.” There were also some pro-forma (for Trump) coverage complaints.

In the clearer light of not so early morning, the meeting was back on.

See? Official.

In the account that arrived not through Twitter, but through a Times spokesperson, it was not the Times who had changed the terms:

A spokeswoman for The Times, Eileen Murphy, responded that the paper had not changed the arrangements for the meeting and was not aware it had been canceled until reading Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts. The company said that Mr. Trump’s team had asked on Monday to change the ground rules, but that the paper had declined.

“We did not change the ground rules at all and made no attempt to,’’ she said. “They tried to yesterday — asking for only a private meeting and no on-the-record segment, which we refused to agree to.”

She added: “In the end, we concluded with them that we would go back to the original plan of a small off-the-record session and a larger on-the-record session with reporters and columnists.”

So who then? It appears to have been a miscommunication from a very protective Reince Priebus:

Three people with knowledge of Mr. Trump’s initial decision to cancel the meeting said that Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, had been among those urging the president-elect to cancel it, because he would face questions he might not be prepared to answer. It was Mr. Priebus who relayed to Mr. Trump, erroneously, that The Times had changed the conditions of the meeting, believing it would result in a cancellation, these people said.

To recount, in the past few days of stories about Trump meeting with the press, we have had Twitter wars, lobby live cams, contrasting, anonymous accounts of yesterday’s OTR meeting, and an on the record meeting that almost didn’t happen because of a Priebus misdirection over fear of Trump’s preparedness, or lack thereof.

And, at the moment, the Times is also livetweeting the on the record portion of its meeting.

Maybe when we’re done processing all of this we’ll think of something cute to end this post with. Or maybe cute is exactly what is not needed in these unsettled and unsettling times.

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