President Donald Trump ushered in a third day of online discussion of bedbugs Wednesday morning, tweeting about New York Times’ right-leaning columnist Bret Stephens, who abandoned the platform Tuesday after lashing out at an online commentator who called him a bedbug.
Referencing a report of bedbugs in the Times’ newsroom, the president wrote, “‘The infestation of bedbugs at The New York Times office’
@OANN was perhaps brought in by lightweight journalist Bret Stephens, a Conservative who does anything that his bosses at the paper tell him to do! He is now quitting Twitter after being called a ‘bedbug.’ Tough guy!”
Reps for Stephens and the Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
How did we get here? As Twitter lit up on Monday with a few good bedbug jokes at the expense of the Times, George Washington University associate professor David Karpf got one in at Stephens’ expense: “The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.”
From there, the columnist emailed both the professor and his provost before quitting Twitter altogether.
“I would welcome the opportunity for you to come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for a few minutes, and then call me a ‘bedbug’ to my face,” Stephens wrote in the email to Karpf and provost Forrest Maltzman.
Trump has also had bedbugs in mind after reports resurfaced that his Doral Golf Club in Miami — where he hopes to locate next year’s Group of Seven summit — reached a legal settlement in 2017 with a New Jersey businessman who had sued over injuries sustained by bedbugs at the property.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a link to a Washington Post story about the situation, adding, “A made up Radical Left Story about Doral bedbugs, but Bret Stephens is loaded up with them! Been calling me wrong for years, along with the few remaining Never Trumpers – All Losers!”