NY Times reporter responds after Trump pummels paper on ‘phony’ claim he questions Pence’s loyalty

President Donald Trump pushed back Saturday against a New York Times story suggesting that he’s questioning Vice President Mike Pence‘s loyalty.

Headlined, “Is Mike Pence Loyal? Trump Is Asking, Despite His Recent Endorsement,” the paper’s Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers cite the perquisite anonymous sources to present the possibility that Trump “has grown irritated” with Pence.

The president called the claim “a phony story” on Twitter, noting that they “refused to ask me.”

“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!” he tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1063834733430206465

Haberman, no fan of the Trump’s, responded to his claim by pointing to a statement from the White House that was included in the story.

“FACT CHECK: Emailed with and spoke with first deputy Hogan Gidley, who is quoted. POTUS would need to talk to them about why they didn’t provide us with a quote from him,” she tweeted.

With the White House quote in the article, it’s not hard to imagine the president was talking about being asked directly, given his frequent interactions with the press.

Such as Saturday’s press scrum outside the White House, where President Trump vehemently denied a claim that serves to sow dissension in the ranks and further paint his administration as riddled with chaos.

Trump also stood firmly by his battle-tested vice president.

“I don’t question his loyalty at all. He is 100 percent loyal,” he told reporters. “It’s a phony story. I doubt they had any sources. A typical New York Times phony story.”

“Mike Pence is 100 percent, not even a doubt about it in my mind,” Trump continued. “He has been a trooper. He has been with me from as soon as I won the primary — he was the one I chose. I could not be happier and I don’t question his loyalty at all. He has already been tested in many ways. Mike Pence is a terrific person.”

He would go on to say The Times “should retract that story,” comparing the reporting to writing a novel.

Ironically, almost as if looking to get Trump on the record ahead of The Times story, the president was asked last week during a White House press conference if he was set on Pence as his running mate in 2020.

The question resulted in an impromptu exchange between Trump and Pence, who was in the room.

“Well I haven’t asked him, but I hope so,” Trump said, before turning toward Pence and asking, “Mike, will you be my running mate?”

Pence stood and confirmed that he would indeed be on the ticket with the president.

“The answer is yes,” Trump then told the reporter who broached the topic. “That was unexpected, but I feel very fine.”

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Tom Tillison

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