Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu triggered CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Monday by pointing out her continual attempts to steer a conversation about John McCain’s death toward attacks on President Donald Trump.
Camerota, during a New Day segment led by the chyron “Remembering John McCain,” repeatedly requested Sununu’s comment on reports — based on anonymous sources from CNN and the Washington Post — that the White House had rejected a proposal to release a statement regarding “John McCain’s service and sacrifice.”
Sununu charged Camerota with playing “political games” to “exploit” allegations related to McCain’s death. He chided the anchor for pushing this narrative instead of just letting him pay tribute to his dead friend.
Partial transcript below [emphases added].
CAMEROTA: So governor, what do you think about President Trump rejecting the practice of putting out an official White House statement about John McCain’s service and sacrifice?
SUNUNU: Look, that was printed in the Washington Post, and I have to be honest with you, I don’t put much credence to what I read in the Post.
CAMEROTA: We also have that reporting.
SUNUNU: Yeah, well. Same thing applies, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Governor, you come on CNN and we appreciate you coming on CNN and we appreciate your take on it, but I don’t appreciate you denigrating our reporting. I think that you know we have excellent reporters here, but are you saying that you don’t want to believe that? You don’t want to believe that President Trump would do that about John McCain?
SUNUNU: I’m saying that I don’t want to comment on a report that I haven’t satisfied myself is correct.
CAMEROTA: And if that report were true?
SUNUNU: I’m not going to answer the hypothetical.
CAMEROTA: It’s not a hypothetical. This is our reporting. We have rock-solid sources in the White House.
SUNUNU: I think this effort to create a cleavage between the White House and those that are mourning John McCain really does disturb me. It is this effort by the press to accentuate the negative that I think have created the climate that prevents, in the long term, the bipartisanship that John McCain supported.
I don’t want to be a part of rubbing whatever salt there in whatever wound there may be, because I think that just adds to the division. I’m here because I lost a good friend. I wanted to express my concern about that. … I’m not here to play the political games that some in the press want to play at this moment… of great sorrow for the country.
CAMEROTA: To be clear, we don’t see it as a game.
SUNUNU: I’m here to talk about my friend, John McCain. You appear to be here to talk about something that you think you can exploit, and I find that rather unpleasant.
CNN markets itself as a politically objective and non-partisan news media outlet. It brands itself as “The Most Trusted Name In Name” with the slogan “Facts First.”
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.