Reporter denies Trump suggestion he paid Paul Ryan for critical interview

A Politico reporter denied an accusation from President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE that former Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOcasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump MORE (R-Wis.) may have been paid to do an interview in which he was critical of Trump.

Tim Alberta, Politico's chief political correspondent, tweeted Friday that he had not paid Ryan for an interview for his upcoming book, excerpts of which made headlines on Thursday. In the book, Alberta characterized Ryan's retirement as an "escape hatch" to get away from the president.

"I can confirm that I did not pay Paul Ryan for the interview. (He did, however, offer me a Miller Lite at 2pm.)," Alberta tweeted.

Trump had suggested minutes before the tweet that Ryan may have been paid to disparage him in the interview. The president told journalists "maybe he gets paid for that, who knows?" at a press conference alongside outgoing Labor Secretary Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaFake passport, cash and diamonds found in Epstein's home, prosecutors say Ross in Trump's crosshairs after census loss: report Chris Christie: Trump administration departures go back to 'how poorly the transition was run' MORE.

According to excerpts published by The Washington Post this week, Ryan said in an interview with Alberta, for his book “American Carnage," that Trump "didn't know anything" about governing or being president before taking office.

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“I told myself I gotta have a relationship with this guy to help him get his mind right,” Ryan told Alberta. “Because, I’m telling you, he didn’t know anything about government ... I wanted to scold him all the time.”

A spokesman for the former Speaker confirmed this week that the phrase "escape hatch" was not used by Ryan in the interview, noting that it was Alberta's paraphrasing, while stating that Ryan had expressed a clear desire to retire to spend more time with his family.

"He’s been very clear that he retired because he wanted to spend more time being a father and a husband," Ryan's spokesman said.