The board that administers Pulitzer Prizes denied former President Trump’s request to revoke the prizes that the Washington Post and the New York Times won in 2018 for their reports on the Trump campaign and his administration’s ties to Russian interference in the presidential election.
In a statement on Monday, the Pulitzer board said it rejected Trump’s demand after it commissioned two independent reviews that were “conducted by individuals with no connection to the institutions whose work was under examination, nor any connection to each other.” Both reviews concluded that the awards stand.
“The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes,” the board wrote.
Trump has challenged the awards in the last three years, calling the reports no more than a politically motivated “farce” and claiming that the newspapers falsely reported on a “non-existent link between the Kremlin and the Trump Campaign.” The former president complained about unnamed sources in the award-winning articles, too.
“I would expect that you will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation, including stripping the recipients of their prize and retracting the false statements which remain on the Pulitzer website. Without holding the recipients to such a high standard of accountability, the integrity of the Pulitzer Prize namesake stands to be wholly compromised,” Trump wrote in a letter to the board last fall.
Trump has repeatedly denied that Russian interference helped him win the 2016 presidential election against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton or that his campaign colluded with Russian operatives. Trump dismissed investigative efforts, including the Russia probe led by former special counsel Robert Mueller, as a “witch hunt.”
The Post broke news on the Justice Department’s concerns with Trump’s then-incoming national adviser Michael Flynn, who was not transparent with then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence about his communications with Russia’s ambassador, making him potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
The Times was the first to report that Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed could dig up dirt on Clinton, following an email that informed him that the material was part of an effort backed by the Russian government to aid his father’s candidacy.