White House spokesman Jay Carney said the charge from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that an unidentified Republican House leader told President Barack Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you” during government shutdown negotiations is not accurate — but Durbin is standing by his story.
A reporter Wednesday referred to Durbin’s claim on Facebook that a member of Congress told the president to his face that he couldn’t stand to look at him.
Carney, clearly prepared for the question, gave a direct answer.
“I looked into this and spoke with someone who was in that meeting and it did not happen,” Carney said.
Asked whether anyone from the White House spoke with Durbin about it, Carney responded, “I don’t know. My understanding is, again, from a participant in the meeting it did not happen.”
Durbin is the Senate majority whip. He did not identify the Republican in making the claim, which he posted online Sunday.
“Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans,” Durbin posted to Facebook. “But in a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you.’”
“What are the chances of an honest conversation with someone who has just said something so disrespectful?” Durbin added.
Durbin’s office did not immediately respond to phone and email requests for comment from TheBlaze, but a Fox News producer tweeted at 4:13 p.m. that the office said Durbin stands by his story.
This post has been updated.