The New Yorker on Tuesday said it stands by a report that President Donald Trump mocks Vice President Mike Pence for his religious views and joked that Pence wants to “hang” all gay people, though the White House denied Trump made those remarks.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Politico that the New Yorker’s report “relied on fiction rather than facts.”
“The President has the highest level of respect for the vice president, and for his deeply held faith. The suggestion that he would make such outrageous remarks is offensive and untrue,” Sanders claimed to Politico. “The anecdote was meant to divide, not unite and is completely false.”
It was not clear which anecdote Sanders was referring to of the several included in the New Yorker’s report, and the White House did not immediately respond to TPM’s requests for comment.
Trump also told Pence that he had “wasted all this time and energy” trying to end Roe v. Wade to no avail, according to the report, and during a discussion of LGBT rights, joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
A New Yorker spokesperson referred TPM to the magazine’s statement to Politico.
“In the course of fact-checking this piece, we talked to more than sixty people to confirm the reporting contained therein, including senior White House officials, a senior member of the Vice-President’s office, the RGA, Rep. Elijah Cummings, and multiple people who were in the room when President Trump joked that Vice-President Pence ‘wants to hang’ gay people,” a New Yorker spokesperson told Politico.
The spokesperson told Politico that Pence’s press office “declined to participate in this story for months, after multiple requests for interviews, comment, and fact-checking” and that the New Yorker only heard back from the office “after the piece had closed, late Thursday.”
“We stand by the story,” the spokesperson said.