This morning President Trump went on Twitter to claim that Sen. Richard Blumenthal was essentially lying when he repeated Judge Gorsuch’s critical comments about the President.
Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
I’ve seen many reporters treating this as a dispute between the President and Blumenthal. It’s not. Both of Judge Gorsuch’s official representatives, Ron Bonjean and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte have publicly confirmed that Gorsuch said these things and that Blumenthal’s comments were accurate.
So Trump is attacking the credibility of Bonjean and Ayotte, who are both, in essence, working for the White House. Indeed, Ayotte used the same key words on the record to describe Gorsuch’s views. In a statement out this morning, Ayotte said Gorsuch “finds any criticism of a judge’s integrity and independence disheartening and demoralizing.”
There appears to be some arguing over whether this is an actual disagreement between Gorsuch and Trump or a choreographed distancing. I addressed that here. But for present purposes it doesn’t matter. Reporters have a responsibility to press both sides to see who’s lying. At the moment, President Trump is saying not only that Blumenthal is but that Ayotte and Bonjean are too.
I would truly hate to think that every story on this would not point out this elementary fact and not give Ayotte and Bonjean a chance to defend their credibility on the record.