In what many see as a pushback against the Trump administration, CNN rejected a White House request to have Kellyanne Conway appear on this weekend’s State of the Union.
The Huffington Post reports that CNN will be the only network not featuring a White House official this weekend, adding that a White House spokesperson said they “offered multiple guests for State of the Union and they declined.” Vice President Mike Pence chose not to appear on CNN this weekend, with the Trump Administration instead offering Conway in his place.
The development is a stark turnaround from last week when the White House announced it was boycotting CNN because it felt the network was covering them unfairly.
Per a CNN spokeswoman: In lieu of Pence, the W.H. offered Kellyanne Conway for an interview, but CNN declined https://t.co/qVDgi5jWOa
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 4, 2017
The Trump White House has notoriously bad relations with CNN already. And the decision to make Pence available to CNN’s Sunday show rivals, but not CNN itself, is likely an extension of what Politico recently reported as a “freezing out” of the network. The White House hasn’t provided any administration officials for “State of the Union” since Jan. 8, an absence the show’s host, Jake Tapper, has noted on the air.
The freeze doesn’t appear solid. On Wednesday, Sebastian Gorka, a former Breitbart News editor who’s now deputy assistant to the president, appeared on Tapper’s weekday afternoon show, “The Lead.” And the White House offer of Conway as a substitute guest shows CNN is no longer getting shunned on Sunday mornings.
CNN has been slandered by President Trump as being a purveyor of “fake news” in response to its reporting on an unverified dossier supplied by an ex-British spy allegedly containing compromising information on the President (CNN did not publish the dossier’s contents), along with the network’s refutation of Trump’s claim that the crowds at his inauguration were the largest in history.
“We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda,” a Trump aide said in a statement.
Pence reportedly chose to skip CNN this weekend, likely due to the grilling he received from host Jake Tapper during his last appearance. When the White House offered Conway instead, it was then that CNN said, ‘No thanks.’
Conway has developed a reputation for her outlandish spin and problems with the truth, namely her claim that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was simply offering “alternative facts” when he refuted accurate reporting about Trump’s inauguration crowd, and most recently with her pointing to the fictional “Bowling Green Massacre” as a justification for Trump’s Muslim ban.
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