White House

Ethics office tweets about 'loyalty' after reports of Comey and Trump's private dinner

The Office of Government Ethics tweeted on Friday a reference to "loyalty to the Constitution" following reports that President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey for his loyalty. 

"Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain," read the tweet, sent at 12:36 p.m.

The tweet seemed to reference the New York Times report that Comey declined to pledge his loyalty to Trump during a dinner in January. Two unnamed Comey associates told the newspaper they heard the then-FBI director's account of the dinner. 

Comey instead promised Trump "honesty." When Trump allegedly pressed Comey further, Comey pledged to provide "honest loyalty." 

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the report. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also said on Friday the conversation between Trump and Comey did not happen. 

"I think the president wants loyalty to this country and to the rule of law," Spicer said during Friday's press briefing. 

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But the account echoes wording in a comment made a day earlier to The Associated Press by longtime Comey friend Daniel Richman, who said the president had removed "somebody unwilling to pledge absolute loyalty to him."

The White House fired Comey on Tuesday, initially citing his mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server as the reason.

The president later told NBC News he would have fired Comey regardless of any recommendation. Officials initially pointed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's memo as the force that led to Comey's firing. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.