On Friday, a day after Donald Trump announced he would be running for president, the Associated Press published a story with the headline “Donald Trump: I’ll be the President I Never Heard of.”
“I won’t be the guy you think I am,” Trump told a reporter at a campaign event.
“I’m the President you never heard of.
That’s the name.”
The article was quickly shared on Twitter and Facebook, and Trump’s campaign quickly tweeted to disavow it.
“AP story is fake,” Trump’s press secretary, Hope Hicks, said in a statement.
“The AP did not contact me.
This is a fake story.”
The AP did contact Trump’s senior adviser on communications and voter outreach, but Hicks said she was not aware of the story and had no idea how it was sourced.
A representative for the AP did respond to the story.
The story was the latest in a string of fake news stories about Trump, who has been a frequent target of online critics.
In the last week, he’s been falsely accused of using the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” falsely accused by former Secretary of State John Kerry of being a liar, and falsely accused the press of trying to make a political point with its coverage of the election.
At least nine journalists and election observers have been threatened and harassed since Trump’s election victory, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, including in an attack on a reporter from the New York Daily News who wrote a story about Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and an investigation into a journalist who published an unflattering portrait of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
In some cases, the threats have led to the publication of journalists’ personal information.
In a video of the incident, the man holding the reporter’s camera said, “We’re going to kill you, we’re going see to it you die.”
The man then threatened to kill the New Yorker staff member who recorded the video, according the AP.
In another incident, a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat threatened the reporter who filmed the attack.
“We are the police and we will find you, you are going to pay for what you did to me, because I am not afraid of you, because you are the enemy of the people,” he said.
The AP story did not directly mention the Trump campaign.
The man behind the screen is identified as a journalist by the AP as well as the AP’s senior media editor, Matthew Dowd.
In response to the AP story, Hicks, the Trump spokesperson, said that the reporter involved in the story, Matt Apuzzo, is no longer with the AP and that the story was “false.”
Apuzza was the editor of the website Newsday, which is owned by Trump’s media conglomerate.
Apuzzi has defended the AP by saying that the article was “an inaccurate attempt to misrepresent what our campaign is all about.”
The website’s owner, Tribune Publishing, also has defended Apuzzis reporting, saying that Trump’s team had “no knowledge” of the article until it was published by the Associated Public Press.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Apuzzos attorney, Thomas Weyler, said Apuzzas reporting was done independently and that Apuzzes story was completely “false” and “outright defamatory.”
Apazos story was also shared widely on social media, including by BuzzFeed.
“While AP does not verify all of its news stories, it does independently verify the accuracy of the content published by AP journalists, including AP NewsHour and the AP Fact Checker,” a BuzzFeed News spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
“Our fact checkers verify that AP’s claims are factually accurate, and we do not and will not verify the factual accuracy of AP’s news coverage.”
The campaign’s spokeswoman, Hope Bressler, did not respond to a request for comment.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Apizzos story is “a fake” and that he will “fight back against all those who do.”
Apizzo was not on the Trump team when the AP article was published, but he was an employee at the AP at the time, according Toensing, the AP reporter.
Apizzi’s story was a “political hit piece,” Toensing said, adding that Apazi is a “very credible source.”
In a statement, Apizzis spokesperson, Dan Scavino, said the AP “is one of the few news organizations that has not been compromised by the Russians” and defended the story as “fair and balanced.”
“We don’t believe there was any attempt to defame Mr. Trump by the Trump Campaign or any of his advisers,” he wrote.
“Mr. Apazi has consistently reported on the most serious issues facing the American people and has always done so with integrity and good journalism.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment