New York Times' handling of a new sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh gave President Donald Trump and his allies fresh ammunition in his campaign against the media, where the Times was already a favorite target.
"I think the New York Times made another terrible mistake," Trump said.
"It's a shame that a thing like that could happen," he said.
The revelation that led several Democratic presidential contenders to call for Kavanaugh's impeachment came in the 11th paragraph of a story labeled "news analysis" that ran in the Sunday opinion section.
The story is based on an upcoming book by Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation," about the junior justice's brutal confirmation battle last year.
Headlined "Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not," the story was primarily about Deborah Ramirez, a Connecticut woman who alleged that Kavanaugh, as a freshman at Yale in 1983, had pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her. Kavanaugh has denied those claims.
Yet the authors said they'd uncovered a similar story involving Kavanaugh at another freshman year party, where he allegedly exposed himself and friends pushed his penis into the hands of a female student.
The story said former classmate Max Stier reported the incident to the FBI and senators as Kavanaugh's nomination was being discussed, but said Stier would not discuss it with the authors. Kavanaugh would not comment on the story, a court spokeswoman said on Monday.
After the story was posted online but before it was in the print edition, the Times revised the story to add that the book reported that the woman supposedly involved in the incident declined to be interviewed, and that her friends say she doesn't recall the incident.
While an editor's note pointed out the revision, it did not say why those facts had been left out in the first place. A Times spokeswoman said no one was available for an interview on Monday.
"How can they do a thing like that and destroy somebody's life?" Trump asked.
"I mean they're destroying lives, and it's fake news."
Trump made the comments as he left the White House for a campaign rally in New Mexico.
The president was also asked to respond to a decision by New York City prosecutors to subpoena his tax records.
Manhattan District Attorney's Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office recently sent a subpoena to Trump's accounting firm seeking the last eight years of state and federal tax returns for Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.
"I don't know anything about it," Trump said.
And he expressed hope that the auto workers strike against General Motors would be settled quickly.