White House surprised, frustrated by Trump's New York Times interview: report

Various White House officials were taken off guard and frustrated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE's impromptu Florida interview with The New York Times, according to a Friday report from The Washington Post.

The Post said that Times reporter Michael Schmidt gained access to the president at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Thursday, after club member Christopher Ruddy introduced the president and the reporter. No aides were present during the on-the-record session.

The newspaper quoted one official who was not aware of the interview, which was posted on Thursday evening, as asking, “What interview? Today?"

ADVERTISEMENT

Another official was reportedly irked the sit-down took place and referred to it as “embarrassing.”

The wide-ranging Times interview with the president covered various areas such as his strained relationship with the news media and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia probe. 

Trump told the Times he has the "absolute right" to do whatever he wants regarding the Department of Justice and that he believes Mueller would be fair to him in the probe. 

The president also denied collusion between his campaign and Russia but said even if there was collusion, it would not be a crime. 

White House communications director Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump’s first year in office was the year of the woman Hope Hicks to meet with House Intel in Russia probe: report MORE reportedly checked in on the interview "from afar" after word began to circulate that the president was speaking with the press.

The Post reported the president as being enthusiastic about the interview and happy that it was largely covered on television Friday.