U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Morning Joe hosts claim that administration officials tried to use Enquirer story as leverage

Incident Details

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski arrive for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, U.S. on April 25, 2015.

— REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
April 12, 2017

MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough claimed in a Washington Post op-ed that senior White House officials used the threat of an Enquirer story about their then-private romantic relationship to try to extract an apology from them to President Donald Trump.

According to Scarborough, Jared Kushner was one of the administration officials who spoke with him about the Enquirer story. Scarborough texted with Kushner in April 2017 and the latter said that the host should personally apologize to Trump for negative coverage on his show, according to a report in New York Magazine.

A Fox News article citing an unnamed White House aide claimed that the exchange with Kushner was not a quid pro quo and that the suggestion of an apology was merely a suggestion for how Scarborough could get back on speaking terms with the president.

On June 30, Trump tweeted, “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.”

Scarborough says that he never called Trump to apologize.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].