MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski claimed on their Morning Joe show and in a Washington Post op-ed that they were repeatedly warned by senior White House officials that there would be a negative article about the both of them in the National Enquirer.
That is, unless they apologized to President Trump for their critical coverage of his administration.
They recounted a pleasant evening spent with then president-elect Trump just prior to his inauguration, which flew in the face of Trump’s notorious twitter attacks of that period:
“The president-elect invited us both to dinner on Dec. 30. Joe attended because Mika did not want to go. After listening to the president-elect talk about his foreign policy plans, Joe was asked by a disappointed Mr. Trump the next day if Mika could also visit Mar-a-Lago that night. She reluctantly agreed to go. After we arrived, the president-elect pulled us into his family’s living quarters with his wife, Melania, where we had a pleasant conversation. We politely declined his repeated invitations to attend a New Year’s Eve party, and we were back in our car within 15 minutes.”
Joe Scarborough addressed the issue in some detail on their show, saying, “The president is friends with the guy that runs that National Enquirer,” Scarborough added “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.’ I had, I will just say, three people at the very top of the administration calling me, and the response was like, are you kidding me? I don’t know what they have, run a story.”
The President responded to the allegations via Twitter.
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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
Within minutes, Joe Scarborough responded that he had proof to back up his claim.
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. https://t.co/TZWiElo6Gs
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) June 30, 2017
The question now becomes whether the proof would be sufficient to charge anyone in Trump’s administration with extortion. The National Enquirer denies that their owner and Trump’s close friend, David Pecker, has anything to do with the editorial process.