Alan Shipnuck was initially writing a story on what "playing golf with the 45th president of the United States" reveals about the leader’s character. But it was just seven words that wound up making headline news and, of course, sparked a late night tweet from the commander himself.
"That White House is a real dump," Shipnuck quoted Trump as having said during a weekend in May in his story published Tuesday.
A few short hours later, a White House spokesperson named Hope Hicks wasn’t feeling the story and reached out to the golf-covering journalist to demand that quote be removed.
"That’s a lie and needs to be retracted," Shipnuck recalled Trump’s longtime adviser and spokesperson as having said in an interview Wednesday with Michael Bamberger for the Golf.com podcast.
Shipnuck fired back. "It might be inconvenient for her boss and she might wish he didn’t say it, but it’s not a lie," he said.
"The president said this in front of his eight or nine members and staffers at [Trump] Bedminster," Shipnuck recalled. "It was his first visit to the club after he had been residing in the White House. It was a moment of candor."
Unable to abstain from his favorite social media platform, The Don took to Twitter the next day to use his favorite label since his road to the presidency began: fake news.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2017
In his own defense, Shipnuck later noted it’s likely POTUS was just feeling "unguarded" and showing off his New York sense of humor.
"Those are his people," Shipnuck told Bamberger. "That’s why I think he escapes to them every chance he gets because he feels like he can just be himself, and it’s most accommodated by those people around him."
At the end of the day, even if the tweeter-in-chief really did call America’s most famous house a "dump," it’s likely his opinion will change after the first lady starts her renovation plans.