Life coach Tony Robbins says his invitation to work with President Barack Obama was retracted after he helped Mitt Romney prepare for a presidential debate.
In a video interview published Wednesday by The New York Times, Robbins recalled a 2012 event in California where he challenged Obama to demonstrate more leadership in reaching out to Republicans. The exchange reportedly ended with Obama being impressed with Robbins’ advice.
“He and I went back and forth — no exaggeration — about 25 minutes,” Robbins said. “I said, ‘Mr. President, I’m not some stupid Republican — I’m an independent. We share more in common than you know, but if you’re going to be able to govern in the second half and get things done, you’re going to have to change your approach and your message.'”
Robbins, who also worked with former President Bill Clinton, said he expected Obama to dismiss his pitch but he got a surprising invitation instead.
“He said, ‘Come to the White House. We’ll spend an hour one and one and we’ll talk exactly about this,'” Robbins said.
Robbins said he subsequently got an offer to work with Romney, Obama’s Republican opponent, ahead of the first presidential debate that year. Robbins refused to say what services he offered Romney, but noted that no one followed up on his White House invitation after the debate.
“I never got the invite after that to go to the White House,” he said.
Robbins described the snub even more directly in a podcast with Tim Ferriss last October. In response to a question about whose face he wants to metaphorically punch, Robbins told the Obama tale and noted Romney was widely described as the winner of that presidential debate.
“I worked with Mr. Romney and that’s the first debate he went in, and he did pretty well. And my invitation was no longer extended,” Robbins said with a laugh before accusing Obama of not living up to his talents and adding, “I don’t know if I think ‘punch’ but I’d say, ‘Shake him!'”
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on whether Robbins’ story is accurate.
Additional reporting by Richard Feloni.