In what appears to be a power play by the Trump administration, the White House has reportedly chosen not to allow their surrogates or officials to appear on CNN.
A White House official admitted the existence of the Trump administration's CNN ban, explaining that the network doesn't help them spread their message. "We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda," the official said before adding that CNN would not fit that criteria, Politico reported Tuesday.
White House officials are still answering questions from CNN during daily press briefings, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer rejected the claim that CNN was being denied access to surrogates. While speaking at George Washington University Monday evening, Spicer was asked if the White House was shutting CNN down. Spicer responded that while there was no specific intention to ban CNN, he did not feel he should have to waste time speaking to media outlets who don't want to report truthfully.
"I'm not going to sit around and engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right," Spicer said.
Still, the last time a Trump surrogate appeared on CNN was Jan. 11, when President Donald Trump's senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, joined Anderson Cooper the same day Trump famously chastised CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta during his first press conference after the presidential election. Trump refused to answer Acosta's question, ignoring him first and then slamming the outlet for being "fake news."
"No, I'm not going to give you a question," Trump said at the time. "You're fake news."
Since then, White House officials have appeared on all the Sunday morning news shows, except on CNN.
An unnamed CNN reporter contended that the Trump administration was purposely trying to hurt the network because of rift between the organization's reporters and Trump. "They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd," the source told Politico.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who hosts the Sunday morning show "State of the Union," has said on both Twitter and on the show that the White House has declined multiple invitations to be a part of the show.
As Tapper discussed Trump's controversial immigration executive order Sunday, he mentioned, "We invited the Trump White House to offer us a guest to provide clarity and an explanation of what the president just did, especially given so much confusion, even within its own government by those who are supposed to carry out this order. The Trump White House declined our invitation.”
CNN president Jeff Zucker isn't worried about the White House punishing his network and thinks Trump is making a mistake by attempting to do so. In an interview with New York Magazine, Zucker appeared to warn Trump of continuing to pick fights with the network.
"I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever. One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus — and that’s CNN," Zucker said. "The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake."