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Friday, June 30, 2017

Trump denies threatening ‘Morning Joe’ hosts with National Enquirer story

Trump denies threatening ‘Morning Joe’ hosts with National Enquirer story
By Elliot Smilowitz - 06-30-17 09:08 AM EDT

President Trump on Friday accused MSNBC's "Morning Joe" of being "FAKE NEWS," disputing the hosts' claims that he threatened bad publicity against them.

"Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show," Trump tweeted.

"Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Friday said members of the administration threatened bad publicity against them if they refused to apologize to Trump for their coverage.

"This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas," they wrote in an op-ed.

Scarborough quickly responded to Trump's tweet, calling it "yet another lie" and adding, "I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months."

Brzezinski and Scarborough addressed the "blackmail" attempt during Friday's "Morning Joe."

"The president is friends with the guy that runs the National Enquirer" and would personally call to have the story killed, Scarborough said, adding he had "three people at the very top of the administration" repeatedly pressing him to apologize to Trump.

The "Morning Joe" hosts called for Trump to end his "unhealthy obsession with our show" one day after Trump's tweets attacking Brzezinski's appearance and accusing her of "bleeding badly from a face-lift" when they met at New Year's in Florida.

Trump's Friday tweet came as "Morning Joe" was ending just before 9 a.m. His Thursday tweets attacking the hosts similarly came moments before the end of the show, denying them a chance to respond on-air.

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