The hosts of “The View” erupted Thursday over reports that President Donald Trump banned American media from covering his Wednesday Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislak, calling the move “treason.”
The meeting was held in the Oval Office, and though no U.S. media outlets were permitted to cover the meeting, reports revealed that a Russian photographer was allowed to take photos for Russian state news agencies.
According to CNN, the meeting was set to emphasize the necessity for the U.S. and Russia to combine forces in an effort to end Syrian and Ukrainian violence. Additionally, CNN reported that the meeting “floated the prospect” of a U.S.-Russia coalition to resolve Middle East conflicts.
“He’s speaking to the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak — who’s the one who Michael Flynn got fired for talking to him about possibly talking about sanctions,” host Joy Behar said of the meeting. “And in the room, here’s Trump talking to the Russians and the Russian press is there covering … and guess who’s missing from the room? The American press.”
“They were barred from the room,” Behar continued. “All I’m saying in this lengthy speech, which I hate to give, is that this is treason to me. This is un-American, un-patriotic. Americans should be furious. Furious. This is the American press being left out … it hurts my feelings, frankly.”
The New York Times reported Wednesday’s covert meeting and called it a “public relations coup.”
“The result was a public relations coup of sorts for Russia and Mr. Lavrov in particular, who not only received a collegial Oval Office welcome from the president, but the photographic evidence to prove it. By contrast, when Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson traveled to Moscow last month, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia kept him waiting for hours before granting him an audience at the Kremlin. Then, too, Mr. Tillerson left his American press contingent behind.”
Many on social media called the move to allow Russian media into the Oval Office unwise.
Responding to a Twitter question as to whether or not it was a “sound” decision to allow the Russian photographer into the Oval Office, former Deputy CIA Director David S. Cohen answered, “No, it was not.”
“Deadly serious Q,” a Twitter user asked Cohen. “Was it a good idea to let a Russian gov photographer & all their equipment into the Oval Office?”
@ColinKahl No, it was not.
— David S. Cohen (@cohendavid) May 10, 2017
Others even called Trump a “traitor to democracy.”
— Shawn Blackhawk (@bayoubrat2011) May 11, 2017
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a senior White House administration official revealed that the Russian “had to go through the same screening as a member of the U.S. press going through the main gate to the [White House] briefing room.”
The official noted that “it is standard practice for ambassadors to accompany their principals, and it is ridiculous to suggest there was anything improper.” He said the White House rooms are “swept routinely” for bugging devices.