Trump's own administration arranged a background briefing with reporters after the North Korea summit plans failed. Now he's claiming the official in the briefing doesn't even exist.
The Trump administration arranged for an official to speak to the media about the botched summit with North Korea. But in an attempt to save face, Trump now claims The New York Times made up the official in its report.
In a lie-filled tweet, Trump said the "failing" Times had quoted a senior White House official "who doesn't exist." He insisted the paper was "WRONG AGAIN" and complained that they should "Use real people, not phony sources."
He cited a May 24 Times report in which the paper quoted an official who pointed out it would be nearly impossible to get the summit back on track by the original deadline of June 12. The official told the Times, "June 12 is in 10 minutes."
Contrary to Trump's tweet, the official is real — and the evidence is the Trump administration itself.
In two emails to the media on the 24th, the White House Press Office (run by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders) promoted the availability of the official that would later be cited in news reports from the Times and others.
The emails read: "This afternoon, a senior White House official will hold an off-camera, not for broadcast, background briefing on North Korea. The briefing will be conducted in person and via conference call at 3:30PM EDT, and the information will be embargoed until the conclusion of the briefing."
Trump is clearly embarrassed by how the Korean diplomacy issue has turned out.
As is often the case when he fails at his job, Trump directed his fury at the press.
The Times quoted his own officials in its report, detailing how he had botched a major diplomatic operation. And his only response was to accuse them of making up a source.
The accusation is part of Trump's deplorable "fake news" argument, where stories that tell the truth about his flailing administration are attacked.
His own team set up the contact with reporters. It's possible Trump doesn't understand how briefings work, but it is more likely he is doing what he always does when caught with his pants down: lying.