Trump Ditches, Then Mocks His Press Corps
Donald Trump on Thursday mocked his traveling press corps for being late to his rally, even though his campaign is responsible for arranging the pool’s travel.
“I have really good news for you,” the Republican nominee told supporters here, according to a livestream of the rally this and other pool reporters watched on a bus from the airport to the event location.
“I just heard the press is stuck on their airplane. They can’t get here. I love it. So they’re trying to get here now. They’re going to be about 30 minutes late. They called us and said could you wait? I said absolutely not. Let’s get going, New Hampshire.”
While television cameras continued to roll live on the rally, still photographers already at the venue opted not to shoot any images of the event out of solidarity with their pool colleagues.
“This is completely ridiculous and unacceptable. This has gone on for way to long and it’s time we take a stand,” said one member of the traveling press.
“The press corps is at a boiling point here and was more frustrated tonight than ever,” said another.
“There’s the want to do something among traveling press of course – being constantly mocked and demonized is awful – but there’s the competing feeling that news organizations have almost let too much slide to have any bargaining power at this point,” said a third member of Trump’s traveling press corps.
The reporters said they had yet to receive an explanation or response as to why they were left behind. Spokespeople for the campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Some members of the traveling press considered not covering the event in an attempt to boycott, but their efforts were unsuccessful as management from various networks pushed back. Plus, the event was being carried live by the network pool, meaning Trump’s image was still being broadcast on television.
Trump, who blacklisted individual reporters and several news organizations (including POLITICO) until last Thursday, has made a habit of using the media as a punching bag while still largely enjoying saturation campaign coverage from television networks.
Trump has also criticized Hillary Clinton for avoiding the press. After going more than 260 days without holding a news conference, the Democratic nominee has repeatedly taken questions from the press in the past week, including in Greensboro, North Carolina, Thursday afternoon.
Clinton also began traveling on the same plane as her press pool two weeks ago, while Trump still travels without his.
Trump is the first candidate to go so long into a campaign season without traveling with his press corps. Neither campaign has the full-on protective pool that is with the candidate from the moment they leave their home or hotel until they return, but Clinton has a quasi-protective pool, meaning she does travel with the media on the same plane. Trump’s press pool travels separately.
Members of the media pay extra to travel on the campaign-arranged press planes and buses, with the distinct purpose of making sure they arrive on time and with the candidate to events, versus arranging their own travel. But this is far from the first time Trump left his press pool behind. In late August, when Trump traveled to Mexico meet the country’s president, he left his pool behind in Arizona. Earlier that same month, when Trump went to Baton Rouge to survey flood damage, the traveling press were also not invited. Trump said that the trip would be “non-political” with no press, but the visit was still featured prominently by all of the major outlets.
Trump took off from LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York, shortly after taping an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” late Thursday afternoon.
His press plane did not leave a different airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, until after 7:30 p.m. because some reporters who pooled Trump’s appearance on “Tonight Show” were caught in traffic leaving Manhattan.
Based on the final three minutes of Trump’s remarks, all the press pool was able to hear in person, it sounded like the GOP nominee stuck to the same scripted stump speech he’s been delivering over the past week.