President Donald Trump attacked The New York Times in a tweet Saturday, claiming the paper made up a “senior White House official” for its story about the canceled North Korea summit. The official, a member of Trump’s National Security Council, actually does exist and led a briefing at the White House on Thursday for reporters.
The White House even provided its own transcript of the briefing that Trump essentially dismissed as fake news.
As is often the case on such background briefings, the official asked not to be identified by name and instead be referred to as a “senior White House official,” according to several witnesses who saw the briefing in person or listened to it over the phone.
But, after his own official provided the briefing, Trump complained that the Times story referred to a White House official “who doesn’t exist.”
“Use real people, not phony sources,” he wrote.
Several news outlets responding to Trump’s tweet named the official and some even posted audio of the briefing he provided. Trump did not correct his tweet, nor apologize. The tweet was still live Saturday night.
The Times reported the official said that relaunching the now-canceled North Korea summit on the originally scheduled date would be impossible. The official didn’t use that word, but indicated that there was far too much preparation required to make a June 12 meeting possible.
“There’s a certain amount of actual dialogue that needs to take place at the working level with your counterparts to ensure that the agenda is clear … and June 12 is in 10 minutes, and it’s going to be – you know,” said the official, according to the White House transcript.
Journalists were irritated: