Reporter denies Trump suggestion he paid Paul Ryan for critical interview

A Politico reporter denied an accusation from President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE that former Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge 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 AcostaOn The Money: Trump slams relief bill, calls on Congress to increase stimulus money | Biden faces new critical deadlines after relief package | Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Federal litigator files complaint alleging Labor secretary abused his authority 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.