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Melania Trump’s rep fires back after report the president ‘raged’ over TV airing CNN

The statement is a response to a New York Times report that President Trump was upset to find the first lady's television tuned to CNN.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during their arrival on Air Force One at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland, Friday, July 13, 2018.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during their arrival on Air Force One at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland, Friday, July 13, 2018.Read morePablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

First lady Melania Trump is allowed to watch "any channel she wants," according to her spokeswoman, who was responding to a report claiming President Trump was upset to find CNN on her Air Force One television.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump "raged" at aides over the incident, an apparent violation of his rule that televisions should be tuned to Fox News, where his administration receives more favorable coverage. The incident caused "a bit of a stir" aboard Air Force One, according to an internal email exchange between officials in the White House Military Office and the White House Communications Agency obtained by the Times.

Tuning televisions to Fox News will be the standard operating procedure moving forward, the Times also reported.

Stephanie Grisham, director of communication for the East Wing, responded to CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett by suggesting the media focus on issues the first lady is working to highlight rather than her television habits or a tape of her husband discussing a financial payout to a former Playboy Playmate claiming she had an affair with him.

"Seems kind of silly to worry about what channel she watches on TV (any channel she wants btw) or if she heard some recording on the news," Grisham said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Trump constantly refers to CNN and other news outlets as "fake news" over coverage that often portrays his administration in a negative light. On Tuesday, during a speech at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, Trump told veterans and their guests not to believe what they're reading about his administration or seeing on the news.

"Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening," Trump said. "Just stick with us. Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news."

By comparison, Trump has developed an affinity with Fox News, where opinion hosts regularly defend his administration and side with the president in attacks on other media outlets. Trump has also staffed his administration with several former Fox News employees, including the network's former co-president Bill Shine, who joined the White House as deputy chief of staff for communications earlier this month.

Politico recently reported on a short list of potential replacements for White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is rumored to be departing her position by the end of the year despite saying publicly that she has no plans to leave the administration. The list of potential replacements includes Heather Nauert, the current spokeswoman for the State Department and a former Fox News host, and Bill Hemmer, the current coanchor of America's Newsroom. It also includes Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is dating the president's son Donald Trump Jr. and who  abruptly left the network last week to work for a Trump-aligned super PAC.