Donald Trump Says the Media Needs Him to Win Re-election

"Without me, their ratings are going down the tubes," the president said of the media in an impromptu interview with 'The New York Times'.

In an unscheduled, unstaffed interview with The New York Times on Thursday, President Donald Trump said the media would be in trouble without him and needs him to win re-election in 2020.

"Another reason that we’re going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes," he said. "Without me, The New York Times will indeed be, not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times."

Of the news media, a frequent target of his, Trump said: "They basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, 'Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.' O.K.”

Trump was interviewed by veteran Times reporter Michael Schmidt, who said in the story that no White House staffers were present at the time of the 30-minute interview.

Schmidt's colleague, Maggie Haberman, summed up how the interview came to be on Twitter. "The unstaffed president of the United States, who likes to talk to reporters, bumped into the incomparable @nytmike at one of his golf courses and did what he is always inclined to do -‘talk for a half-hour on record," she wrote. "No staff."

During the interview, Trump said he can afford to be "treated unfairly and very dishonestly by CNN" because of his large following on social media, which allows him a direct connection to his supporters.

While he often bashes the Times, Trump has a certain fondness and respect for the publication. And this is not the first time Trump has given an impromptu interview to the paper's journalists. He let three Times reporters interview him in the White House in July, including Schmidt.

Both the Times and The Washington Post, among other outlets, have benefited from a so-called "Trump bump" in subscriptions that's stemmed from intense interest in the Trump presidency.