Trump Claims Senior White House Official Who Briefed Dozens Of Reporters ‘Doesn’t Exist’

Trump Claims Senior White House Official Who Briefed Dozens Of Reporters ‘Doesn’t Exist’

Even as we’ve all become completely numb and desensitized to the president’s daily lies and exaggerations, POTUS still has the ability to say something so egregiously false that it leads folks to go “c’mon, man.”

Towards the end of a pre-golf tweetstorm Saturday morning that also included him somehow blaming his administration’s heinous policy of separating children from border-crossing migrants on Democrats, President Donald Trump whined about a New York Times report on the canceled North Korea summit. The president was unhappy that the story revealed there was disagreement within his administration about how to handle the Hermit Kingdom and a possible meeting with dictator Kim Jong Un.

And then he curiously claimed that a White House aide who briefed reporters on background about the potential summit simply didn’t exist and the Times was using a “phony source.”

Now, here’s the relevant portion from the NYT piece:

As with so many issues involving this president, the views of his aides often have little effect on what he actually says. 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.

On Friday, Mr. Trump said, “It could even be the 12th.”

Later on Friday, the president reinforced that possibility, saying on Twitter that if the meeting were rescheduled, it would “likely remain” on that day, “and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.”

It seems pretty clear within that context that the official in question spoke to numerous reporters on background in a briefing call. And immediately after the president sent his tweet saying the aide didn’t exist, reporters who were briefed called the president out.

Eventually, the name of the official who gave the background briefing was made public.

Yashar Ali explained that he tweeted out National Security Council member Matt Pottinger’s name because he wasn’t in the briefing call and that background briefings are essentially like press conferences. In other words, Yashar wasn’t outing a source, especially since the call was open to the press corps.

Anyway, my condolences to Pottinger for discovering he actually doesn’t exist.

UPDATE: Yashar Ali obtained audio from the briefing, which includes deputy press secretary Raj Shah introducing Pottinger to reporters.

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.