It's a race to see what happens first, whether a news organization will use the word "lie" to describe Donald Trump's actions, or whether Trump starts putting reporters in jail.
President Trump falsely accused The New York Times on Saturday of making up a source in an article about North Korea, even though the source was in fact a senior White House official speaking to a large group of reporters in the White House briefing room.
The president was referring to an article about the on-again, off-again summit meeting between Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, which Mr. Trump had canceled Thursday.
The article, headlined, “Trump Says North Korea Summit May Be Rescheduled,” said that the United States was “back in touch with North Korea” and that the meeting might yet happen.
Mr. Trump posted on Twitter to denounce part of the article, which reported in the 10th paragraph that “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.”
In a tweet, the president took issue with that sentence, saying, “WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.”
Except all the journalists were on the same WH press conference call. They all heard the same thing. Trump says it never happened. And our Village betters, terrified of losing access, continue to make excuses.
It is not clear whether the president was simply unaware of the actions of his own senior staff or if he knowingly ignored the truth. The source of that sentence was a White House official who held a briefing on Thursday afternoon in the White House briefing room that was attended by about 50 reporters, with about 200 or so more on a conference call.
Reporters often request such briefings to be on the record, which would allow the official to be named. But, in this case, the rules of the briefing imposed by the White House required that the official be referred to only as a “senior White House official.” The Times is continuing to abide by that agreement.
In the course of the briefing, the official was asked about the possibility that the summit meeting could be held on June 12, despite the president’s decision to cancel it a day earlier. The discussion was prompted by earlier statements from the president suggesting that the meeting might still happen.
The official noted that “there’s really not a lot of time — we’ve lost quite a bit of time that we would need” to prepare for the summit meeting.
“June 12 is in 10 minutes,” the official said.
The Village follows the rules, and they get attacked as enemies of the state anyway. I guess it's going to take a reporter getting put either in prison, the hospital or the morgue before the WH press corps wakes up to their own complicity.
At least one of those is going to happen soon.