President Trump on Saturday morning alleged The New York Times “foiled” a U.S. attack on an Islamic State leader, suggesting the paper has a “sick agenda” that hurts national security.
It was not immediately clear why the president held the Times responsible or what attack he meant. However, he referred to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose death has been speculated for months.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that he believes al-Baghdadi is still alive.
“I think Baghdadi’s alive,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “Until I see his body, I am going to assume he is alive.”
The New York Times was one of several outlets that reported on the comments.
Russia claimed in June it had killed al-Baghdadi in an airstrike.
Although Trump criticized the Times on Saturday, and has done so numerous times in the past, he also recently sat down with their White House reporter for a rare wide-ranging, one-on-one interview in the Oval Office.