A June 30 report says President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, told "Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to apologize to the president otherwise the National Enquirer would run a tabloid story on the couple's relationship.
Three unidentified sources told New York Magazine that Kushner texted Scarborough in April and told him and Brzezinski to personally apologize to Trump who would then contact his friend David Pecker, who owns the National Enquirer, and tell him to kill the story.
Scarborough refused to give into the alleged blackmail demand, and the National Enquirer published a story on June 2 entitled: "Joe & Mika: TV Couple's Sleazy Cheating Scandal," according to the tabloid's website.
A spokesperson for Kushner refused to comment to New York Magazine, but National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard issued a statement: "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."
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On Aug. 22, Trump tweeted an ominous warning aimed at Scarborough and Brzezinski: "Some day, when things calm down, I'll tell the real story of [Joe Scarborough] and his very insecure long-time girlfriend, [Mika Brzezinski]. Two clowns!"
Scarborough and Brzezinski, who are engaged to be married, appeared to make a reference to this tweet in a June 30 op-ed in The Washington Post:
The president’s unhealthy obsession with our show has been in the public record for months, and we are seldom surprised by his posting nasty tweets about us. During the campaign, the Republican nominee called Mika "neurotic" and promised to attack us personally after the campaign ended.
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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. We ignored their desperate pleas.
The president’s unhealthy obsession with "Morning Joe" does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs. Despite his constant claims that he no longer watches the show, the president’s closest advisers tell us otherwise.
That is unfortunate. We believe it would be better for America and the rest of the world if he would keep his 60-inch-plus flat-screen TV tuned to "Fox & Friends."
Scarborough and Brzezinski also spoke about the alleged blackmail attempt involving Trump and the National Enquirer on "Morning Joe" on June 30.
Trump tweeted a response to the broadcast on June 30: "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 fired back on Twitter a few minutes later: "Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months."
Sources: New York Magazine, National Enquirer, Donald Trump/Twitter (2), The Washington Post, Joe Scarborough/Twitter / Photo Credit: Rubenstein/Flickr, US Department of Labor/Wikimedia Commons, James K. McCann via Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr