Reporters push back on Trump claim that senior White House official doesn’t exist

Reporters hit Twitter on Saturday to call out President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE for claiming that a senior White House official quoted in reports “doesn’t exist.”

The comments come in response to Trump’s tweet attacking The New York Times for quoting an anonymous White House official saying that the now-canceled summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is unlikely to occur on the originally planned date.


Many reporters turned to Twitter to defend the source, tweeting that the official in question does indeed exist and held an in-person background briefing about the summit on Thursday.

“The ball is in North Korea’s court right now. There’s really not a lot of time. We’ve lost quite a bit of time that we would need,” the official said at the time.

“This is a ridiculous lie about the Times,” said Daniel Dale, a Toronto Star White House correspondent. “The senior White House official is not only real - the official said June 12 was extremely unlikely *at an in-person White House briefing to the media* on Thursday.”

Several reporters pointed out that the official made the comment during a background briefing that was held in person and on a conference call.

“I mean, every reporter on the call knows who this official was, and this official exists,” said Weekly Standard reporter Michael Warren. “And we all heard the official say it.”

Some reporters who were apparently not on the call or present at the meeting identified the official as Matthew Pottinger, a senior adviser on the National Security Council.

Trump was referring specifically to a New York Times report that quoted a “senior White House official” saying that the U.S.-North Korea summit cannot take place on the originally planned date because of the lack of time for necessary planning after Trump canceled the meeting.

Trump told reporters on Friday that he and Kim could still possibly meet on June 12.

Trump lashed out at the Times over the report, saying that they were “WRONG AGAIN!” and that they should “use real people, not phony sources.”

He has previously criticized reports that cite anonymous sources, calling them "made up."