According to two separate reports, from CNN and the New York Times, President Donald Trump told Customs and Border Protection Commissioner and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan that he would “pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants.”
Both outlets, citing anonymous administration officials, said that Trump brought up the topic while touring the border with McAleenan in Calexico, Calif. last week.
Homeland Security issued a statement without flatly denying the president’s offer of a pardon, “At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law,” the statement read.
However, there has been some chatter about the president’s reported pardon comment being a joke. But neither CNN nor the New York Times have been able to confirm that.
Predictably, Trump took to Twitter with his familiar refrain of calling anything that doesn’t reflect well on him bogus, saying the reports were “fake news” and misattributing the reporting to NBC News. The president’s comment was followed by New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman quote tweeting the president in an attempt to set the record straight about which news outlets reported the story and the lack of a White House response.
A) CNN and NYT reported this as well B) We reached out for comment from the WH on this shortly after 11 am this morning, and asked for comment three times. In case the WH approach is not clear here, it's to not comment and then have Trump say "fake news." https://t.co/oiQ6SXOJos
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 13, 2019