President Donald Trump pushed back against reports that he called the White House a “dump.”
“I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “But Fake News said I called it a dump – TOTALLY UNTRUE.”
In a lengthy article about the president’s golf game, Sports Illustrated writer Alan Shipnuck reported that Trump told members of his golf club in New Jersey that the “White House is a real dump.”
White House spokesperson Hope Hicks denied it happened.
“Ms. Hicks told me that that was a ‘lie and that Sports Illustrated is not in the business of publishing lies,’” Shipnuck recounted later in a company podcast about his reporting.
Shipnuck refused to retract the quote, saying his source was an “extremely credible source on any number of topics.”
“The truth is my shield,” he tweeted after Trump challenged his report on Twitter as “fake news.”
Shipnuck’s colleague, Michael Bamberger, who has golfed with the president, discussed the quote on the podcast, offering some context:
Trump has a sense of humor; he’s got a sort of wise-guy, New York sense of humor. He doesn’t really think the White House is a dump. The White house is not a dump. He’s comparing it to the gilded greatness of Bedminster, which is his idea of beauty. He’s sort of trying to be funny, but whether he’s trying to be funny or not, he’s the President of the United States, and people have such passionate feelings about the White House and the presidency.
The article included several interesting news nuggets, including some quotes from golfer Phil Mickelson about the president’s swing.
“He’s a much better golfer than you think he’d be because he hits the ball a long way. He has club head speed, and there’s no substitute for that,” Mickelson told Shipnuck.
Shipnuck has followed Trump’s golf course business for several years.
“The first pictures of Trump Scotland have emerged,” he wrote on Twitter in October 2011. “I hate to say it, but the place looks pretty awesome.”
In February 2017, he traveled to Trump International Golf Club in Dubai to review the property, two weeks before its grand opening.
“Trump International Golf Club Dubai is one helluva course,” he wrote.