TIME is challenging the White House on its hardened stance that reporter Zeke Miller “deliberately” told reporters that the MLK, Jr. bust had been removed from the Oval Office after Donald Trump arrived.
In a letter to readers Tuesday, TIME Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs pushed back hard on the White House assertion that Trump keeps making at speaking events and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made repeatedly at the podium during a Monday briefing.
She provided a timeline of events and wrote about Miller’s extensive attempts to apologize to other reporters and Trump.
“The President and White House aides have cited this mistake as an example of ‘deliberately false reporting,'” she wrote. “It was no such thing. We regret that the error occurred, and believe it is important to share some detail about how it happened.”
Gibbs note continued, “I should not have allowed unconfirmed information to end up in a pool report,” Zeke says. Within minutes, when inquiries began to come in about the missing bust, Zeke reviewed videos and wire photos, and tried to find a member of the White House staff who could answer whether the bust had been moved. He found an aide who went int o the office to check and texted Zeke at 8:10 p.m. that the bust was there.”
Two minutes later, she explained, Miller issued a correction to the White House Press Corps.
She even quotes Miller, saying, “I did all I could to correct the record and I apologize to my colleagues, the president and anyone misinformed by my mistake.”