White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday denied Sen. Dick Durbin‘s (D-Ill) story that a GOP leader told President Barack Obama “I cannot even stand to look at you” during intense negotiations over the government shutdown.
“It did not happen,” Carney said.
House Republicans also denied Durbin’s statements, including House Speaker John Boehner, who said a curt “No” when asked.
Durbin, however, refuses to walk back his story.
“Sen. Durbin stands by his comments,” said spokesman Max Gleischman.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a Facebook post that during a heated confrontation over government shutdown strategy, a House GOP leader told President Barack Obama “I can not even stand to look at you,” reports The Hill.
“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 wrote. “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?”
An aide to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he had “no idea what [Durbin’s] talking about.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Durbin did not say when the alleged confrontation occurred, and whether the exchange happened in the period preceding or during the shutdown that shuttered government for 16 days earlier this month.
In October, the president met once with Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as part of a pow-wow with congressional leadership. McConnell told CNBC shortly after that discussion was “cordial but unproductive.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that President Obama has been blatantly disrespected by a Republican. One highly publicized example is when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) screamed out “You lie!” in 2009 as the president spoke about providing healthcare to illegal immigrants.