Top CNN employees are frustrated. They breathlessly went live to Donald Trump’s news conference at his new hotel in Washington D.C., only to wait helplessly as veterans stood up to explain why they support Trump as commander-in-chief.
“It’s hard to imagine this as anything other than a political rick-roll,” anchor Jake Tapper said wryly as CNN cut away from the broadcast of the Trump event and asked him to comment.
The Trump campaign signaled that the Republican presidential nominee would address the birther controversy, but the first 20 minutes of the event featured veterans telling the media why they supported Trump.
CNN eventually cut away from the event – even as veterans continued to speak, as anchors griped that the event was not what they thought it was. But they were forced to return to Trump just minutes later as he made a short definitive statement that he believed that Obama was born in the United States.
“I really don’t quite know what to make of that except for that we got played again by the Trump campaign which is what they do,” said John King afterward, pointing out that Trump tricked them into covering a live event.
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) September 16, 2016
“We just got played. We just got played,” he repeated.
Marc Lamont Hill a host of BET News, called Trump’s stunt “repugnant.”
“Donald Trump has never give a speech this short before on any issue!” he said. “He talks for hours sometimes when it’s supposed to be five minutes.”
CNN’s Dana Bash admitted that CNN would have never aired Trump’s event if it knew about the structure of the event.
“What they did, was tease us that he was going to say something, then as John said, played us by making sure that everybody who has an ability to show Donald Trump actually took 20 minutes or got 20 minutes of very important decorated veterans praising somebody who they think should be the next commander-in-chief, which would not have been live on cable news otherwise,” she said.