Trump on Cokie Roberts: 'She never treated me nicely'

President Trump responded to news of the death of renowned ABC News journalist and NPR political commentator Cokie Roberts by wishing her family well — and by saying she “never treated me well.”

“I never met her. She never treated me nicely,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One during a flight from Albuquerque to Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday afternoon. “But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional, and I respect professionals. I respect you guys a lot, you people a lot. She was a real professional. Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her as a professional.”

Roberts, 75, died of complications from breast cancer on Tuesday morning, her family said. She is survived by her husband, fellow journalist Steven Roberts, and their two children and six grandchildren.

The three-time Emmy Award winner and former co-anchor of ABC’s “This Week” began her career as a reporter for National Public Radio in 1978. Roberts was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress.

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Cokie Roberts speaks during the opening ceremony for Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
BETHESDA, MD FEBRUARY 05: Journalist and author Cokie Roberts photographed in her home in Bethesda, Maryland on February 05, 2019. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2016, file photo, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, left, of Calif., greets journalist Cokie Roberts, right, in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington. Roberts, a longtime political reporter and analyst at ABC News and NPR has died, ABC announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. She was 75. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 10: National Archives Foundation Vice Chair of Board Cokie Roberts and Former First Lady Laura Bush onstage at the National Archives Foundation Annual Gala at The National Archives on October 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for National Archives Foundation )
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 10: Former First Lady Laura Bush and National Archives Foundation Vice Chair of Board Cokie Roberts onstage during the National Archives Foundation Annual Gala, after Laura Bush was given the Records Of Achievement Award, at The National Archives on October 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for National Archives Foundation )
(L-R) U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, former first lady Laura Bush, and moderator Cokie Roberts participate in the "Investing in Our Future" forum at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington August 6, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and National Archives Foundation Vice-Chair Cokie Roberts attend the Rightfully Hers Grand Opening at the National Archives Museum on May 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for National Archives Rightfully Hers Exhibit Grand Opening)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: (L-R) National Women's History Museum honors Tarana Burke and Cokie Roberts on May 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for The National Women's History Museum)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 01: Cokie Roberts, Debbie Dingell and Barbara Boggs attend the AFI 50th Anniversary Gala at The Library of Congress on November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for American Film Institute)
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (L) talks to moderator and political journalist Cokie Roberts during the University of Southern California's Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy inaugural Symposium in Los Angeles, California September 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS EDUCATION)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) answers questions from ABC's Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, during the broadcast of a news programme in Denver, June 22. This is the first network interview for Tony Blair since becoming prime minister. GROUP
Vice President Al Gore (L) swears in Lindy Boggs as new Ambassador to the Vatican November 12. With Boggs are her son Tommy Boggs, holding Bible, her daughter Cokie Roberts and her grandson Paul Sigmund. USA VATICAN

It is unclear what alleged mistreatment Trump was referring to in his remarks. In November 2015 he took issue with Roberts’s predictions in a tweet that misspelled her first name.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway paid her respects on Twitter.

“Cokie Roberts was kind,” Conway tweeted. “She disagreed agreeably. Cokie listened, offered advice, showed patience and poise, worked hard, put faith & family first. God bless. RIP.”

Trump’s predecessors each released statements in memory of Roberts upon learning of her death.

“Michelle and I are sad to hear about the passing of Cokie Roberts,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement. “She was a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way. She will be missed — and we send our condolences to her family.”

“We are deeply saddened that Cokie Roberts is no longer with us,” former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush said in a joint statement. “She covered us for decades as a talented, tough, and fair reporter. We respected her drive and appreciated her humor. She became a friend. We know Steve, their children, and grandchildren are heartbroken. They have our sincere sympathies.”

“I liked and respected Cokie Roberts very much,” former President Bill Clinton tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “She understood people and politics. For nearly half a century, she was an institution in American journalism — tough but fair, insightful, and with a voice all her own. She’ll be missed.”

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