Fox News correspondent defers to NBC reporter at White House briefing

A Fox News reporter deferred to an NBC News journalist during Tuesday's White House press briefing after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to move on from questions about whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE has used the N-word.

Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke deferred to Kristen Welker of NBC, who pressed Sanders on whether she could definitively rule out that Trump has used the racial slur.

"Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people they’ll never hear Donald Trump utter the N-word on a recording in any context?" Welker said.


"I can’t guarantee anything," Sanders responded. "But I can tell you that the president addressed this question directly. I can tell you that I’ve never heard it."

After rattling off statistics about the economy, Sanders said she was moving on to Corke, who ceded to Welker so she could ask a follow-up question. 

"Just to be clear, you can’t guarantee it?" Welker

"I haven’t been in every single room. I can tell you the president has addressed this directly," Sanders said.

Tuesday's gesture from Corke marks the latest instance of a White House reporter deferring to a colleague during the briefings, where correspondents typically jockey for the chance to get questions in. The Hill's Jordan Fabian deferred to Hallie Jackson of NBC at a briefing last month. And after that, in a different press briefing, CNN's Kaitlan Collins paused to allow NBC's Hallie Jackson to continue her questioning

Questions over whether Trump has used the racial slur came to the forefront at Tuesday's briefing after former White House aide Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanTrump administration sought to sue Omarosa after she announced tell-all book: report Juan Williams: Too many men of color got conned by Trump White House aide Ja'Ron Smith leaves post MORE alleged in her new book that the president repeatedly used word on the set of "The Apprentice."

She wrote in “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House” that she heard there were tapes of Trump using the slur, and has said in an interviews that she heard the tapes after the book went to print.

In a tweet late Monday night, Trump claimed "Apprentice" producer Mark Burnett called him to say no such tapes exist. He added that the racial slur has never been in his vocabulary.