The incident reflects an emerging pattern noted by several top political reporters in how the Trump administration handles its most controversial policy proposals, and undermines the press in the process:
1. Wait for a draft memo of a proposal to be leaked to the press.
2. Refuse to comment when asked about the draft.
3. Wait to dispute a story’s accuracy until the story is published.
4. Accuse the press of never having sought comment to begin with.
Trump has followed this pattern closely. In a press conference on Thursday, he dismissed reports about his campaign team’s communication with Russia as “fake news,” and said that the Wall Street Journal and New York Times had never asked him for comment before publishing their respective stories. Both outlets, however, either included a White House denial or stated that the White House did not respond to requests for comment.