NYT reporter denies making alleged anti-Trump comments

NYT reporter denies making alleged anti-Trump comments
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New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin is pushing back against an upcoming book alleging that he once berated a Republican National Committee (RNC) staffer in a phone call and referred to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE as a "racist" and a "fascist."

An excerpt of the book, "Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War Over the Truth" by Fox News host Howard Kurtz, claims that, during the 2016 presidential race, Martin allegedly called the staffer "complicit" in Trump's "racist" and "fascist" behavior, according to a CNN report.

"Donald Trump is racist and a fascist, we all know it, and you are complicit," the book quotes Martin as saying. "By supporting him you're all culpable."

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Martin denied in an email to The Hill that he ever made such a remark, saying that it did not sound like something he — or anyone else in the news business — would say.

"Of course I didn't yell 'you're a racist and a fascist' or 'you are complicit' or 'you're all culpable' at anybody," he wrote. "Does that sound like me? More to that point, do those sound like real life lines any human being in the news business would use?"

A spokesperson for Regnery, the book's publisher, said in an email Tuesday that Kurtz and Regnery "stand by everything reported in the book," and that the passage about Martin's comments "is based on sources with direct knowledge of the conversations." Kurtz gave Martin multiple chances to respond, but he declined to comment, the spokesperson said.

A number of reporters took to Twitter on Tuesday to question the accuracy of Kurtz's account. Maggie Haberman, another reporter for the Times, questioned whether Kurtz had actually sought to fact-check the exchange.

CNN's Andrew Kaczynski tweeted that the alleged quote appeared more likely to have been made up by a "certain former RNC official."

Another Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, said the quote seemed like something that would appear in the script for a "bad movie or TV show."

The passage of Kurtz's book also drew skepticism from some Republicans, who said the alleged comments seemed out of character for Martin.