President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday morning that "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough called him to "stop a National Enquirer" article from being published, but Scarborough has a very different account of the story.
Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough are longtime critics of Trump, and the back and forth barbs between the morning hosts and the president reached a new high on Thursday when Trump personally attacked Brzezinski in a tweet slamming the "poorly rated" duo.
Trump again took to Twitter on Friday morning to sound off on Scarborough:
"Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS," Trump said. "He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show"
Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
In addition to an op-ed with the Washington Post titled, "Donald Trump is not well," Scarborough and Brzezinski appeared on MSNBC with Willie Geist on Friday morning to respond to the president's social media behavior and explain the context in which the commander in chief was operating.
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According to Scarborough, he and Brzezinski began getting calls about a "negative story" the National Enquirer planned to publish.
"We got a call that, 'Hey, the National Enquirer is going to run a negative story against you guys...' And they said, 'If you call the president up, and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike this story," Scarborough said to MSNBC on Friday morning.
Trump is publicly known to be friends with David Pecker, who owns the National Enquirer's parent company -- and Scarborough describes conversations in which he was pressed to leverage this relationship to ask Trump to put an end to the publication's story.
Scarborough then noted to MSNBC that there were "three people at the very top of the [Trump] administration" calling him about this story.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer reportedly told the press corps he is "not aware" of White House officials encouraging Scarborough to call Trump regarding this story.
A National Enquirer story on Scarborough and Brzezinski was published on Friday, and the publication soon after released a statement on Scarborough's accusation:
"At the beginning of June we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions."
See Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of 'Morning Joe' together