The White House has claimed it believes in press freedom, despite banning a CNN pool reporter from attending an event after she asked a question that President Donald Trump didn’t like.
Reporter Kaitlan Collins was told on Wednesday that she would not be allowed to attend an event at the Rose Garden, although the White House later said the network itself was not barred from attending—just the reporter.
The incident came after Collins attempted to ask President Trump several questions during a meeting with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker. Afterward, Collins was called to the office of the new deputy chief of staff for communications, Bill Shine, who along with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told her she could not attend the later Rose Garden event.
“They said ‘You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today’,” Collins told CNN. “They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting. But the White House claimed it was nothing to do with press freedom.”
“At the conclusion of the press event in the Oval Office, a reporter shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so,” Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event but made it clear that any other journalist from her network could attend,” the statement added, suggesting it was not the question but the manner of questioning that had upset the President.
“She said it didn’t matter to her because she hadn’t planned to be there anyway,” Huckabee Sanders’ statement added. “To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House.”
Other White House reporters, as well as Fox News, have voiced their support of Collins, The Hill reported. Collins responded to the statement from Huckabee Sanders by stating she believed she had been respectful of the President.
“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,” Collins told CNN in an interview.
It is not the first time CNN has found itself shunned by the President. As well as regularly describing the network as “fake news,” Trump declined to take a question from a CNN reporter during a press conference in the UK recently, instead stating he wanted to talk to a “real” network.
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