White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley defended the administration’s decision to block a CNN reporter from a White House event, citing a breach in protocol.
Gidley denied reports that the White House “banned” CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from an event because staff did not like the content of her questions during a meeting with the European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
It had nothing to do with the content of the questions. Those are news-of-the-day questions. What it had to do with — and you guys know how it works — when the president thanks the press for attending an event, the event is over — or at least the press engagement is over at that time. This…the reporter in question that you’re talking about was told repeatedly to leave the Oval Office. They refused to do that. Stayed in the Oval Office, despite staff, Secret Service, everyone trying to usher everyone out of the room. And that can’t happen.
Gidley spoke to reporters about the disputed event on Air Force One on the return flight from the president’s event in Illinois.
Reporters complained to Gidley that there was a “bottleneck” in the Oval Office preventing them from filing out of the room faster. Gidley replied that he was in the room during the disputed events and that some reporters, including Collins, were not moving to leave.
Gidley can be heard on the video telling the press, “Thank you, everybody” and “Keep moving, guys” and “Start leaving, guys” while Collins repeatedly asked President Trump questions about his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
“Thank you, Kaitlan. Let’s keep going,” Gidley said directly to Collins, who responded by asking the president another question:
Collins claimed that White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders “thought the questions I had posed to the president were inappropriate and inappropriate for that venue.”
“It’s about process, procedure, and protocol. And everyone who goes in there understands when the president is done with a conversation, everyone leaves,” he said. “The press are escorted out, typically in an orderly fashion. But in this particular instance, someone refused to leave after being told repeatedly to do so.”