NEW YORK — Is the White House using the National Enquirer to threaten and blackmail journalists?
That’s what MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are alleging, and they said it happened to them.
“We got a call that, ‘Hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys…’ And they said, ‘If you call the president up, and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike this story,'” Scarborough said on the air.
Scarborough didn’t name names, but he said “three people at the very top of the administration” called him about this.
“The calls kept coming and kept coming, and they were like ‘Call. You need to call. Please call. Come on, Joe. Just pick up the phone and call him.'”
The National Enquirer released the following statement:
Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that he is “not aware” of White House officials pressing Scarborough to call up President Trump and act nice.
The President himself weighed in via Twitter a few minutes later. He said he heard what Scarborough said on “Morning Joe,” but claimed that it’s untrue: “He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show.”
Scarborough responded quickly to Trump’s tweet with one of his own, writing, “Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven’t spoken with you in many months.”