The White House banned a CNN reporter from an event because they didn’t like her questions
Just when you think that things couldn’t get worse at The White House…they got worse. CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins was banned from a press event because of the (totally reasonable) questions she had asked the president earlier that day. Thankfully, backlash from the press, television networks, and the general public has been swift.
On Wednesday, Collins was reporting on a meeting between Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. She asked the president a few questions about Michael Cohen and Vladimir Putin, which he didn’t answer. After that, the press corps was invited to the Rose Garden for additional time with Trump. Collins, however, was pulled aside by Bill Shine, deputy chief of staff for communications, and Sarah Sanders.
“They said ‘You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,'” Collins explained in a CNN interview. “They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting.”
What @KaitlinCollins asked Trump, hours before being "disinvited" from Rose Garden event:
— "Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?"
— "Are you worried about what is on the other tapes?"
— "Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation?"https://t.co/i6F39WwaDQ
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 25, 2018
Sanders claimed in a statement that Collins had shouted her questions and then refused to leave the room after being asked multiple times. “To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House,” the press secretary added.
Collins refuted that claim. “I certainly agree that everybody should be respectful of the White House, the people here, and the president himself, as I was in my questions, quite respectful, asking the president… That is just simply how we do it here,” she said.
Meanwhile, outrage over the White House’s decision has poured in from reporters and network executives on both sides of the aisle. They stood firmly behind Collins, her questions, and her rights as a reporter to attend White House press events.
Absolutely disgraceful behavior from @presssec and Shine. @kaitlancollins is a tough professional and had every right to ask about Cohen, about whom POTUS has repeatedly tweeted. WH press corps and media writ large needs to unite against this. https://t.co/ryg3Uj8qvG
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 25, 2018
Important to note @kaitlancollins was the designated TV pool reporter for the day, meaning her job was literally to attend all the president's media availabilities to disseminate info to other networks. Move impacts not just CNN but all networks. https://t.co/JU1DyUQWmF
— Laura Figueroa Hernandez (@Laura_Figueroa) July 25, 2018
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) July 25, 2018
"As a member of the white house press pool, FOX stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access" pic.twitter.com/Pv75Cs3a6l
— Salvador Hernandez (@SalHernandez) July 25, 2018
As today's radio pooler, I was in the Oval Office with @kaitlancollins, heard her questions, thought they were good and timely ones, and find an official government sanction in response to them an absolute, stunning outrage.
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) July 25, 2018
Adding my voice to those coming to the defense of @kaitlancollins. Asking the president questions about a timely topic during a pool spray is exactly what WH reporters do. Good to see other networks banding together with CNN because Kaitlan could have been any WH reporter today.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) July 26, 2018
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) July 26, 2018
CNN also took a strong stand for their reporter, releasing a statement that serves as a very important reminder that our country does indeed have a free press (because, you know, it seems like some people in the administration might have forgotten that).
“Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of day doesn’t mean the question isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be asked,” the network noted. “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”