President Trump's ongoing feud with the media is hardly news, but over the weekend it turned out that there were still new ways for him to criticize the journalists who cover his administration. In order to berate the New York Times over a story about North Korea, Trump called his own White House official fake — even though that official had given a briefing to dozens of reporters, The Times reported.
The Times published a story about Trump potentially rescheduling the planned summit with North Korea, in which Trump was quoted as saying that the meeting could happen as early as June 12. The article also cited "a senior White House official" as saying that the June 12 meeting was unlikely because of the necessary preparation that would have to go into it. Trump took issue with this and expressed his frustration, as is so often the case, in a tweet.
"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,'" Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday. "WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources."
According to the Times, the White House held the briefing off the record, which meant that the official giving it could not be named in the article. For this reason, the Times only quoted "a senior White House official" rather than giving the official's name. The Times also stated that over 50 people were present at the briefing, and a Buzzfeed reporter who signed onto the simultaneous conference called said in a tweet that over 240 people were on the call line when she joined.
This meant that Trump's lie was easily caught, with numerous reporters who had been present at the briefing quickly jumping in to call out the falsehood.
"I was there. This was a background briefing given by a senior administration official in the briefing room!" reporter Brian Karem wrote on Twitter. "POTUS either has no idea what his own administration is doing, has lost his mind, doesn't care, all of the above and is such a liar he can't remember the last lie he told."
"I mean, every reporter on the call knows who this official was, and this official exists. And we all heard the official say it," Weekly Standard writer Mike Warren said in response to Trump's tweet.
According to the Huffington Post, the White House itself even took down and then provided a transcript of the briefing, which offers yet more proof that it did indeed take place with a real senior official at the White House. Trump has not removed the tweet or offered a correction, however, despite the quick reaction to this tweet and the fact that he's been on Twitter since then, tweeting no less than five times about the Trump/Russia investigation.
This false claim of the president's falls into a pattern of his when it comes to taking issue with anonymous or unnamed sources. Earlier in May, for example, Trump tweeted about NBC News, saying that the "sources" the organization had cited "probably don’t exist, they are fabricated, fiction!" However, USA Today pointed out in May of 2017 that Trump didn't shy away from stories citing anonymous sources when the stories were favorable to him. In August of 2017, the Guardian noted that Trump had even berated the New York Times for relying on anonymous sources one day and then posted a Fox News piece that did the same thing the next day.
Calling his own officials fake news, though, is a new move even for this president, but now it appears as though there will be no going back.