NYT Defends Publishing Short Story Imagining Assassination of Trump

Melanie Arter | October 26, 2018 | 10:23am EDT
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(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - As the search continues for who is behind the pipe bombs that have been mailed to Democratic politicians and prominent liberals, The New York Times is defending its publication earlier this week of a fictional short story about “the president” being assassinated by a Russian.

The story--titled "How It Ends"--ran Tuesday in a section headlined, “Five Novelists Imagine Trump’s Next Chapter."

CNSNews.com asked The New York Times why it was appropriate to run this short story that imagines the assassination of the president and whether the paper plans to publish any other stories imagining the president’s assassination.

A NYT spokesperson responded by email, saying: “This is a bad faith inquiry, part of an attempt to manufacture a story. It's very clear what this is: a work of fiction, commissioned by editors of the Book Review as part of a package of five stories penned by a range of spy and crime novelists -- in the Halloween edition."

The New York Times Book Review section gave “some of today’s most talented spy and crime novelists” the opportunity to imagine “Trump’s Next Chapter.”

In the section, “Five Novelists Imagine Trump’s Next Chapter,” which was published on Tuesday, novelist Zoe Sharp imagines “the president” being killed by “the Russian” using a Secret Service officer’s gun in the story titled, “How It Ends.” The story doesn’t specifically mention Trump by name, but the introduction to the book review specifically mentions the president:

“Our focus here at the Book Review is on books and stories, but also on how the books being written and read reflect the world outside of books. And one of the biggest stories out there, of course, is the Mueller investigation and the relationship between Trump and Putin. It’s hard not to speculate about what might happen next. To that end, we thought: Who better than some of today’s most talented spy and crime novelists — Joseph Finder, Laura Lippman, Jason Matthews, Zoë Sharp and Scott Turow — to conjure possible outcomes?” it stated.

The short story published by the Times suggests that the U.S. president the Russian agent had been assigned to assassinate had, in fact, been “handpicked” for the U.S. presidency by the Russians. The story says:

“Around 11 p.m., his contact arrived. The man had been in deep cover for decades. In his briefcase was a bottle of Stolichnaya and a 9-millimeter Makarov semiautomatic pistol.

“‘There is no other way?’ It was intended as a statement. It emerged as a question.

“The contact shook his head. ‘When it comes out that he was handpicked at the highest possible level, our great nation will be the laughingstock of the world,’ he said. ‘He must be silenced.’”

The story also suggested the Russian assassin was staying in a hotel in Washington, D.C. that was owned by the president, noting: “The hotel staff had been lined up to see their boss, the president, go by.”

It pointedly describes how the Russian agent uses a bar of soap that has the hotel’s name—thus, the president’s name—on both sides of it. The short story published in the Times says:

“At 7 a.m., he showered. The bar of soap had the hotel name stamped into both sides. He made sure to wash his ass with it.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reacted to the piece during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, saying, “I find it absolutely abhorrent and disgraceful. It is exactly the type of thing the president was talking about is that type of activity is certainly not helpful, certainly not in this time.”



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