President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday morning that he was upset that a “fake news” organization did not contact him directly, about him possibly removing Vice President Mike Pence from his post before the 2020 presidential election season takes place.
Trump called the claims errant in a couple of posts on Twitter, citing the New York Times, which originally reported on the topic. He berated the publication for failing to speak with him about the situation with Pence, and also implied in his writing that he found the Times to be “the enemy of the people.”
“The New York Times did a phony story, as usual, about my relationship with @VP Mike Pence. They made up sources and refused to ask me, the only one that would know, for a quote. I can’t imagine any President having a better or closer relationship with their Vice President then the two of us. Just more FAKE NEWS, the Enemy of the People!”
Speaking with reporters earlier in the day, Trump also said the reporting was bogus, telling them he sees Pence as someone he can trust, the Hill reported on Saturday.
“No I don’t question his loyalty at all. He is 100 percent loyal. It was a phony story,” Trump said, adding he saw it as “a typical New York Times phony story.”
Maggie Haberman, one of the reporters who contributed to the original Times story, disputed Trump’s statements, stating that the publication had reached out to the White House press team and that any failure to speak with him directly was on them.
“FACT CHECK: Emailed with @PressSec and spoke with first deputy Hogan Gidley, who is quoted,” Haberman wrote in her tweet. “POTUS would need to talk to them about why they didn’t provide us with a quote from him.”
The New York Times article to which Trump is alluding to did not name any of the sources that indicated Trump had misgivings about his vice presidential pick for 2020. The article did, however, note that several key White House advisers did speak to them about the matter, adding that they had felt alarmed by Trump asking questions that indicated he was considering finding a new vice president to take Pence’s place in the upcoming presidential election.
Trump has blamed reporters in the past for not trying to reach him before publishing a report that put him in a bad light. Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” which chronicled much of Trump’s time in office so far, was blasted by the president who said the author didn’t make attempts to speak to him. In fact, Woodward later provided evidence that suggested he did make several attempts to speak to Trump, per reporting from CNN.