White House bans network pool reporter from Rose Garden event

The White House took retaliatory action against Kaitlan Collins, a White House reporter for CNN, after Collins asked ...

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 7:30 AM
Updated: Jul 26, 2018 7:30 AM

The White House took retaliatory action against Kaitlan Collins, a White House reporter for CNN, after Collins asked President Trump questions at an Oval Office photo op on Wednesday.

CNN, rival networks, and the White House Correspondents Association all spoke out against the administration's action.

On Wednesday afternoon Collins was representing all the television networks as the "pool reporter" in the room during a meeting between Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission.

As is customary, Collins lobbed a few questions at the president. She asked about Vladimir Putin and Michael Cohen. Trump did not answer the questions.

Later in the afternoon, the White House surprised the press corps by announcing a press availability with Trump and Juncker in the Rose Garden. It was said to be open to all press, not just the small pool.

A few minutes later, Collins was asked to come to Bill Shine's office. Shine, a former co-president of Fox News, is the new deputy chief of staff for communications. Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders met Collins there.

"They said 'You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,'" Collins said in an interview. "They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting."

A video clip of the exchange shows that Collins was speaking the same way journalists in the press pool usually speak.

Collins said she reacted by saying, "You're banning me from an event because you didn't like the questions I asked."

Collins said Shine and Sanders asserted that "we're not banning your network. Your photographers can still come. Your producers can still come. But you are not invited to the Rose Garden today."

In a statement in response to press inquiries, Sanders confirmed the dis-invitation. She claimed Collins "shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so."

"To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House," Sanders said.

Other reporters who were in the room said Collins was perfectly respectful.

In a statement, CNN disputed the White House's assertion that Collins' questions were inappropriate.

"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 said. "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."

What Collins described -- telling a well-known and well-respected reporter that she can't attend a presidential event -- is another serious escalation against the press by the Trump administration.

The association which represents the White House press corps said it strongly condemned the action.

"This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand," the group said in a statement.

Fox News, one of CNN's top competitors, also spoke out.

"We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press," Fox News president Jay Wallace said. Wallace and Shine previously worked together for many years.

Reporters from the major networks take turns as the TV "pool reporter." Wednesday happened to be CNN's day.

On some days, there's only one opportunity to ask the president questions.

So Collins felt she should ask about two of Wednesday's biggest stories when journalists were let inside the Oval Office for a portion of Trump and Juncker's meeting.

She asked: "Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?" She repeated the question, then asked "Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is about to say to the prosecutors? Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?"

This was a follow-up to Trump's Wednesday morning tweet about the Cohen tape that CNN aired on Tuesday night.

Trump didn't answer, so Collins changed subjects. She asked, "Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation, Mr. President?"

This was a reference to last week's announcement by Sanders that Putin was being invited to Washington in the fall.

Trump rebuffed the questions by saying, "thank you very much, everybody" to the press pool.

Collins said the photo op was "totally normal."

"It wasn't anything different from any other pool spray," she said.

She was taken aback by Shine and Sanders' assertions later in the day.

Recalling what she told them in the short meeting, she said, "I'm from Alabama. I'm not rude. I believe you should always be polite when you ask a question. I totally believe that."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 101731

Reported Deaths: 3673
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18483525
Cuyahoga13640500
Hamilton9689255
Lucas5377323
Montgomery439894
Summit3573223
Butler294463
Marion292945
Mahoning2566254
Pickaway238742
Stark1844139
Warren180339
Lorain180278
Columbiana166560
Trumbull1534107
Fairfield140032
Delaware131619
Licking129949
Clark115814
Lake112438
Wood105858
Clermont94111
Medina93035
Miami85338
Tuscarawas78814
Portage76561
Allen76044
Greene70312
Mercer62513
Belmont62126
Richland60812
Erie59227
Ashtabula57446
Geauga55844
Wayne54458
Ross4904
Darke40229
Huron4015
Ottawa39026
Madison38810
Sandusky38417
Hancock3793
Athens3591
Holmes3286
Lawrence2880
Auglaize2566
Union2541
Muskingum2391
Jefferson2342
Scioto2341
Seneca2223
Putnam20817
Knox2067
Washington20522
Preble2042
Shelby2004
Coshocton1946
Champaign1782
Crawford1745
Morrow1722
Hardin16912
Clinton1656
Highland1591
Logan1552
Ashland1493
Defiance1484
Wyandot1488
Fulton1471
Brown1382
Perry1363
Williams1353
Guernsey1187
Hocking1189
Henry1172
Fayette1150
Carroll1105
Monroe9318
Pike770
Jackson750
Van Wert721
Paulding700
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs500
Vinton312
Morgan280
Harrison261
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
Partly Sunny Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events