Donald Trump said in a Twitter tirade that the New York Times invented a “phony” source for a story critical of Trump’s diplomacy efforts with North Korea, and several journalists have now responded to show that Trump is lying about his claim.
Trump had leveled the claim about a story that said there was internal disagreement in the White House about how to proceed with North Korea after Trump publicly canceled the meeting planned for next month. Within hours, several journalists spoke up to contradict the slam including one who posted audio showing that Trump’s claim was a lie. The audio showed the source to be a White House official speaking to reporters on background.
The original story quoted an unnamed source who said top aides contradicted Trump’s statement that the summit might still be on.
“As with so many issues involving this president, the views of his aides often have little effect on what he actually says,” the report claimed. “On Thursday, for example, a senior White House official told reporters that 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.”
Donald Trump took issue with this source, claiming that the New York Times had actually invented the quotes and that the person who made those claims did not exist. That prompted several reporters to note that the statement had actually been made from the podium at the White House briefing room.
While reporters at the briefing kept the identity of this source confidential, journalist Yashir Ali revealed that it was Matt Pottinger, who serves on the National Security Council. Ali, who was not part of the briefing, said he posted the audio because he did not want the journalists present to violate their confidentiality agreement with Pottinger.
Donald Trump had been criticized for his approach toward North Korea, hastily accepting an invitation to meet with dictator Kim Jong-Un and then abruptly canceling the meeting this week after exchanging more harsh words with the country’s leader. This came after Trump had a commemorative medallion minted for a meeting that critics seriously doubted would have ever come together given North Korea’s history of backing out of planned summits toward peace deals.
This is the latest example in the fraught relationship between Donald Trump and media outlets that report critically about him and his administration. Trump frequently takes to Twitter to call critical stories “fake news,” even ones that have later been proven true.