Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET
A feud between President Trump and the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, escalated on Friday when the cable-news personalities accused the White House of attempting to threaten and intimidate them with the publication of a negative story in the tabloid the National Enquirer.
Brzezinski and Scarborough made the explosive allegations in a Washington Post op-ed, which was titled “Donald Trump is not well” and published Friday morning. “This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked,” the pair wrote. “We ignored their desperate pleas.”
The president hit back on Twitter: “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.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he was “not aware” of White House staff ever urging the television hosts to apologize to pre-empt a National Enquirer story, according to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman.
On Friday afternoon, citing three anonymous sources, Sherman reported that Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and a senior adviser to the president, told Scarborough in mid-April that “he would need to personally apologize to Trump” in order to block the story—which was about Scarborough and Brzezinski’s then-private romantic relationship. News that the pair were engaged broke in May. A spokesman for Kushner did not comment on the New York report, Sherman wrote.