President Donald Trump lashed out at The New York Times on Saturday, denying a report citing an official White House briefing.
The Failing @nytimes quotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist, as saying “even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
ABC News correspondent Alex Mallin quickly de-bunked Trump’s claims.
.@realDonaldTrump is slamming the @nytimes for citing a senior White House official “who doesn’t exist,” but the portion of the article he appears to be referring to directly cites comments made at a background briefing the White House held for the whole press corps Thursday. pic.twitter.com/xVtZ1J4hPX
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) May 26, 2018ADVERTISEMENT
Reporters for the newspaper, which Trump referred to as “failing and corrupt” in an earlier Saturday morning, were shocked that the president would make such a claim.
“Imagine being the WH background briefer who led this briefing, who now has his boss – the president of the US – saying he/she doesn’t exist,” reporter Maggie Haberman suggested.
“The president of the United States is now claiming that his own White House briefings are fake news and that an official his White House put in the briefing room ‘doesn’t exist,'” noted Peter Baker.
Reporters at other publications also joined in to scorn the White House.
“Doesn’t seem like there’s any reason to honor WH demands for anonymous briefings if the WH is going to then claim their own briefings are fake news,” argued NBC News reporter Benjy Sarlin.
One reporter went even further, outing the “senior White House official” who conducted the background briefing.
Yashar Ali, who writes for New York Magazine and the Huffington Post, revealed the official to be Matt Pottinger, who serves on the National Security Council.
Ali clarified that he was not bound by the background agreement.
“To be clear, the only reason I tweeted Matt’s name is because I’m not a White House reporter and I was not on this call,” he explained. “Not my agreement, so I can tweet.”
2. To be clear, the only reason I tweeted Matt's name is because I'm not a White House reporter and I was not on this call. I do not believe reporters should violate off record or on background agreements under any circumstances. Not my agreement, so I can tweet.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 26, 2018ADVERTISEMENT
4. I've obtained audio of the WH press briefing. You can hear Raj Shah, Deputy Press Secretary, introduce Pottinger (along with the terms – which are standard) and then Pottinger makes the statement that POTUS says was never made. Lots of reporters in briefing room and on phone. pic.twitter.com/2gEYkRSyTv
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 26, 2018