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President Trump Denies Meghan Markle ‘Nasty’ Comment Despite Recording

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Amid a growing online outcry, President Donald Trump responded to claims he called Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, “nasty” by tweeting that it was “made up by the Fake News Media” on Sunday.

His remarks came after an interview with the President was published by British newspaper The Sun on Saturday. Reporters from the publication asked Trump if he was disappointed he wouldn’t see Markle — who is currently on maternity leave after having her first child in May — on his state visit to the United Kingdom. The reporters informed him that Markle “wasn’t so nice to” Trump during the 2016 campaign, and that she said she would have moved to Canada if Trump was elected.

Trump was apparently surprised at Markle’s remarks. “I didn’t know that, no,” he said. “So, what can I say? No, I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

An official Twitter account for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign had tweeted the audio to the interview on Saturday, asserting the audio proved Trump did not call Markle “nasty.”

“Fake News CNN is at it again, falsely claiming President Trump called Meghan Markle ‘nasty,'” the account said. Though the audio it posted clearly included Trump’s “I didn’t know that she was nasty” comment.

Politico reports a White House official said Trump did not say that Markle was nasty, and that he was responding to The Sun reporter telling Trump Markle’s criticisms of him.

A White House official also told HuffPost that Trump’s comment was regarding Markle’s words, and not Markle herself.

“He wasn’t saying she was nasty,” the official told the publication. “He was responding to the reporter reading things she had said about him in the past and he was saying he didn’t realize she had said nasty things towards him. He said very nice things about her, including he thought she would do an excellent job as princess, etc.”

During the interview, Trump said “I think it’s nice” that Britain has an American princess. “I’m sure she will do excellently. She will be very good,” he continued.

The President arrives in the U.K. on Monday and will be there three days. He will be joined by First Lady Melania Trump, in addition to senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

His adult children, Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. will also reportedly be in attendance.

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Write to Abby Vesoulis at abby.vesoulis@time.com