White House Tried To Move CNN Reporter To Back Of Briefing Room Before Trump Walked Out
President Donald Trump is not a fan of CNN.
He clashes almost daily with reporters from the liberal cable network, and he once had a White House pass pulled from a reporter, Jim Acosta.
Trump got into another battle with the network last week — and lost.
A White House official on Friday ordered a CNN reporter to swap her front-row seat with another reporter at the back of the briefing just before Trump appeared for his daily press conference with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The reporter, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, refused to swap seats, as did the other reporter. The official then said the Secret Service would get involved.
The seating chart in the briefing room is set by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), currently headed up by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, another reporter Trump doesn’t like.
Chris Johnson, a reporter with the Washington Blade, sent out a print pool report to other reporters detailing what happened.
“Earlier today before the briefing, a White House official instructed the print pooler to take CNN’s seat in the briefing room because the seating would be swapped for the briefing. Given the seating assignment is under the jurisdiction of the White House Correspondents’ Association, not the White House, pooler refused to move. The White House official then informed the print pooler swapping wasn’t an option and the Secret Service was involved. Again, pooler refused to move, citing guidance from the WHCA. The briefing proceeded with both CNN and print pooler sitting in their respective assigned seats,” Johnson wrote.
Friday’s briefing marked the first time Trump had held the briefing and then left without taking questions.
Other reporters applauded the pair for fighting back.
“We just got word the briefing will begin in one minute. Reporters were not moved. Shout out to @chrisjohnson82 @kaitlancollins and the @whca for standing their ground,” wrote Hunter Walker, White House correspondent with Yahoo News.
Trump had clashed with Collins just the day before. In his briefing Thursday, Trump dismissed a question from a reporter about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s health, saying it arose from an “incorrect” report from CNN. Collins tried to ask a follow-up question, but Trump interrupted her.
“No, that’s enough,” he said. “The problem is, you don’t write the truth.” Collins tried to ask again, but Trump said, “No, not CNN. I told you, CNN is fake news. Don’t talk to me.”
Acosta’s press pass was revoked in November 2018 after a press conference held by Trump. The White House rebuked Acosta for “placing his hands on a young woman” after he refused to give up the microphone, pushing a White House intern’s hand away as she tried to take back the microphone.
“As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wrote on Twitter, adding a video when she said, “We stand by our decision.”
Acosta sued and got his pass back.