The editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is known for its conservative tone, but its latest editorial would stand out even in the pages of its left-leaning peers.
The editorial, published online Tuesday night, was an extraordinarily harsh rebuke of President Trump, calling him “his own worst political enemy” and asserting that he was damaging his presidency “with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”
In particular, the editorial board pointed to Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones. “The President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle,” the editorial said, even though senior intelligence officials, as well as Republicans and Democrats, have said they have seen no evidence to support Mr. Trump’s accusations.
The paper’s editorial and opinion writers have been critical of Mr. Trump in the past, though the language of the latest editorial, which ran in Wednesday’s paper, seemed intended to remind the president to focus on his stated goals rather than distractions.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for The Journal said, “The editorial speaks for itself,” and declined to make Paul Gigot, the editorial page editor, available for an interview.
The editorial, titled “A President’s Credibility,” criticized President Trump for “rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims,” namely repeating an unsupported allegation by a Fox News commentator that British intelligence had wiretapped Mr. Trump on behalf of the Obama administration. Like The Journal, Fox News is controlled by Rupert Murdoch.
The editorial concluded: “Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39 percent. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.”
When the editorial went online, it immediately garnered attention on social media.
The editorial board has tweaked Mr. Trump before. During the Republican primary, when Mr. Trump was one of many candidates to be the party’s presidential nominee, it took an amused, sometimes disdainful attitude toward him, which did not go unnoticed by its target.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump had not tweeted about The Journal’s editorial.