Watch CNN Go DEFCON-1 Over Trump Pulling a Fast One on the WH Press Corps

This is what the liberal media not being able to control the narrative and what you, the public, know and don’t know. On Thursday afternoon, CNN’s The Lead threw a full-blown conniption after President Donald Trump appeared and then took no questions at a last-minute White House Press Briefing alongside National Border Patrol Council members.

Fill-in host Brianna Keilar immediately seemed bewildered, noting that the President was “pulling the spotlight back to the White House and to his point of view, but it's — he didn't even take questions.” 

 

 

Never Trump Republican Bill Kristol replied by making the panel’s first of numerous slights against the border patrol, complaining that, when it comes to the government shutdown and Democratic Party efforts to end it: “Donald Trump can resist it by not addressing it, right? It's just — here are the border patrol guys and we need a wall, thank you.”

Keilar and The Daily Beast’s Jackie Kucinich replied with disdain that encapsulated the liberal media-wide temper tantrum (click “expand”):

KEILAR: To be clear, this is basically — this is a stunt. I mean, this isn't a briefing. So we thought there was going to — it was billed as a last-minute briefing. That — that was not a briefing, right? A briefing is questions. A briefing is more than just a political stunt which is what we just saw. 

KUCINICH: It being held in the briefing room does not a briefing make. There should have been — yeah. This was a — this was a press availability, I guess, maybe, a photo-op, except there were words. I don't know. This was — but this was not — this was not substantive.

Kristol and fellow faux Republican Ana Navarro looked to dominate the conversation, so they voiced support for the party they claim to not be a part of and unleashed an ugly aversion to defending and securing our southern border, and standing up for the men and women who protect it (click “expand”):

KRISTOL: Here's what it was. Donald Trump couldn't stand that Nancy Pelosi was the center of attention today. He can't stand the fact any other human being could get his or her day in the spotlight so he had to butt in at 4:30 in the afternoon. It's pretty disgraceful, don't you think? New Speaker of the House, a moving moment and he has to have a ludicrous stunt — sorry to drudge on you with some union officials who endorsed him. 

ANA NAVARRO: It's exactly what it is. Like I said to you, it’s deflection, it’s distraction. He can't stand it that there's Democratic Woodstock going on in, you know, in the streets of Washington and Capitol Hill, this entire day. There's Democrats running around, you know, almost throwing glitter. There’s happiness. They’re ebullient, and, you know, he can't stand it. He doesn't want to hear about Alexandra Ocasio Cortez. He doesn't want to hear about the first Somali refugee, he doesn’t want to hear about the first African-American from Massachusetts or the first Latina from Texas or the fact there's 89 women swearing in as Democrats to the new Congress. It's driving him crazy so he needs to somehow be able to suck the oxygen out of the room.

KRISTOL: And he doesn’t want to hear about the government shutdown that he was going to take responsibility for. 

Keilar then brought in White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins to talk about the “non-briefing” “stunt” and so the latter proceeded to give her best Jim Acosta impression. Here’s her comments in full (click “expand”):

Well, it certainly wasn't a press briefing which is what the White House called it when they summoned the reporters up here so abruptly. There said there would be a press briefing with the Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, in the White House press briefing room and that's not what happened when they came out. Now, Sarah Sanders came out. There were a slew of other White House aides here, including the White House communications director, the White House social communications director and then all of these border patrol members behind the President and the President said they had been meeting in the Oval Office talking about the wall. Now, this is President Trump's first time in the press briefing room. He came up to the podium, he made that remark several time that it was his first time in there and, of course, that would lead you to assume that the question would take questions as the President's other predecessors have done in the past. Instead, he spoke about the wall, he invited them to come up and then took no questions from any reporters in the room on the government shutdown stretching into 13 days and then Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, also walked out behind the President and they did not take any questions from reporters. Now, this is something that is essentially unheard of. I'm not sure if the press secretary has ever come into the press briefing room before and not taken a single question from one reporter. Yes, we've had short briefings. Yes, they have been quick before and yes, they’re not very regular in their occurrences but typically they always take questions. That is not what happened here today, and the only thing that it can really remind you of the first time that when Sean Spicer was press secretary and the day after the President's inauguration when they summoned reporters pretty appruptly then. He came out here and shouted about the president's crowd size, saying it was the most attended inauguration ever and then turned away, went back through that door up to his office, and didn’t take any questions. That’s pretty much what just happened with Sarah Sanders and President Trump minus all the shouting that Sean Spicer did on that day. This was not a press briefing, Brianna. 

Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering claimed that also happened during the Obama administration, so that point is at best debatable.

Keilar refused to let the situation go, telling liberal political commentator Symone Sanders that “it’s just so incongruous what we saw happen in the briefing room” because “[t]hat’s the sort of thing what you might see in the Oval Office where the President might be meeting with some folks and the press is invited in.”

Sanders offered some tired talking points, followed by Kucinich and Navarro fretting that, well, the press was yet again played by the President.

“We've had an entire show where we were going to talk about oversight and we were going to talk about investigations and potential impeachment, and the attorney general of New York and instead for 30 minutes, we're talking about what Donald Trump wants to us talk about which is Donald Trump, his favorite subject in the world,” bemoaned Navarro.

After declining to entertain the idea of border security and claiming that a majority of Americans don’t want a border wall, Keilar concluded by siding with federal workers who aren’t named border patrol agents:

Let's not talk about mentioned here, Jackie. He is not mentioning these Americans and these federal workers. 800,000 of them, and how many more people who rely on contract work with the government who are not getting paid, and a lot of these people are paycheck to paycheck. They need that check on January 11th and they are freaking out that they are not going to get it. They didn't mention it. 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Lead on January 3, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Lead
January 3, 2019
4:36 p.m. Eastern

BRIANNA KEILAR: Alright, that was the first briefing room appearance of President Donald Trump, so significant for that factor. However, he — he did not take questions. I want to discuss this with my panel. So we saw him, you called it, that he was come out, Bill Kristol. 

JACKIE KUCINICH: That was well done.

KEILAR: I give you credit. 

BILL KRISTOL: Thank you. 

KEILAR: We saw him with members of this union, the National Border Patrol Council which endorsed him during the campaign, so these are current and retired border patrol agents, right? 

KRISTOL: Right. 

KEILAR: These represent border patrol agents. It's not the Border Patrol, it's a union, just to be clear, and he has them behind him, but it's just pulling the spotlight back to the White House and to his point of view, but it's — he didn't even take questions. 

KRISTOL: No and it doesn't real explain — I think the Democrats can make their point and they presumably can with Speaker Pelosi, they also say: “Fine. Let’s — we have a continuing resolution for the Department of Homeland Security for a month, we will debate the border issue. Meanwhile, we have six other agencies in the federal government that you are closing down and holding hostage that we're willing to pass bipartisan appropriations bills for those.” I think it's a very hard argument for Republican senators to resist as I said before. Donald Trump can resist it by not addressing it, right? It's just — here are the border patrol guys and we need a wall, thank you. 

KEILAR: To be clear, this is basically — this is a stunt. I mean, this isn't a briefing. So we thought there was going to — it was billed as a last-minute briefing. That — that was not a briefing, right? A briefing is questions. A briefing is more than just a political stunt which is what we just saw. 

KUCINICH: It being held in the briefing room does not a briefing make. There should have been — yeah. This was a — this was a press availability, I guess, maybe, a photo-op, except there were words. I don't know. This was — but this was not —

KRISTOL: Here's what it was. Donald Trump couldn't stand —

KUCINICH: — this was not substantive.

KRISTOL: — that Nancy Pelosi was the center of attention today. He can't stand the fact any other human being could get his or her day in the spotlight so he had to butt in at 4:30 in the afternoon. It's pretty disgraceful, don't you think? New Speaker of the House, a moving moment and he has to have a ludicrous stunt — sorry to drudge on you —

KUCINICH: No, it’s —

KRISTOL: — with some union officials who endorsed him. 

ANA NAVARRO: It's exactly what it is. Like I said to you, it’s deflection, it’s distraction. He can't stand it that there's Democratic Woodstock going on in, you know, in the streets of Washington and Capitol Hill, this entire day. There's Democrats running around, you know, almost throwing glitter. There’s happiness. They’re ebullient, and, you know, he can't stand it. He doesn't want to hear about Alexandra Ocasio Cortez. He doesn't want to hear about the first Somali refugee, he doesn’t want to hear about the first African-American from Massachusetts or the first Latina from Texas or the fact there's 89 women swearing in as Democrats to the new Congress. It's driving him crazy so he needs to somehow be able to suck the oxygen out of the room.

KRISTOL: And he doesn’t want to hear about the government shutdown that he was going to take responsibility for. 

KEILAR: Let's bring Kaitlan Collins in because she was there in the briefing room for this non-briefing. Non-briefing. More of the President showing up which is certainly — that hasn't occurred before, but Kaitlan, what was your impression of this stunt? 

KAITLAN COLLINS: Well, it certainly wasn't a press briefing which is what the White House called it when they summoned the reporters up here so abruptly. There said there would be a press briefing with the Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, in the White House press briefing room and that's not what happened when they came out. Now, Sarah Sanders came out. There were a slew of other White House aides here, including the White House communications director, the White House social communications director and then all of these border patrol members behind the President and the President said they had been meeting in the Oval office talking about the wall. Now, this is President Trump's first time in the press briefing room. He came up to the podium, he made that remark several time that it was his first time in there and, of course, that would lead you to assume that the question would take questions as the President's other predecessors have done in the past. Instead, he spoke about the wall, he invited them to come up and then took no questions from any reporters in the room on the government shutdown stretching into 13 days and then Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, also walked out behind the President and they did not take any questions from reporters. Now, this is something that is essentially unheard of. I'm not sure if the press secretary has ever come into the press briefing room before and not taken a single question from one reporter. Yes, we've had short briefings. Yes, they have been quick before and yes, they’re not very regular in their occurrences but typically they always take questions. That is not what happened here today, and the only thing that it can really remind you of the first time that when Sean Spicer was press secretary and the day after the President's inauguration when they summoned reporters pretty appruptly then. He came out here and shouted about the president's crowd size, saying it was the most attended inauguration ever and then turned away, went back through that door up to his office, and didn’t take any questions. That’s pretty much what just happened with Sarah Sanders and President Trump minus all the shouting that Sean Spicer did on that day. This was not a press briefing, Brianna. 

KEILAR: Thank you, Kaitlan, very much. That is — that is very much the point, Symonne and I wonder because it’s just so incongruous what we saw happen in the briefing room. That’s the sort of thing what you might see in the Oval Office where the President might be meeting with some folks and the press is invited in. Even then he doesn't take questions. Why not just do this somewhere else since that's what it is, it's just a photo-op, it's a stunt. 

SYMONE SANDERS: It’s a stunt. I'm not really sure. As a communications professional this upsets me. It just really upsets me. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the press secretary. It’s literally her job to interact with the press and, as we all know, the Trump White House has not had the best relationship with the D.C. political press, so why do you want to continue to poke the press and chide them? Why call them into — she is not setting herself up for any more successes, that she's not making any more friends and today she might have made a couple of enemies. 

KEILAR: That’s presuming she controls the President, though.

SANDERS: Maybe she doesn’t. This is what I'll say about this though. I think that — it seems like so long ago, but today a blue check was put on Donald Trump. That was a referendum on his and the Republicans closing argument in 2018. They did this already. This fearmongering, the thing about immigration, that these migrants and immigrants are rushing the bothered and we have to secure or borders. They did this already in 2018 and they were rebuffed by the American people, and so for the President to come out today with carbon copies of Matthew Whitaker standing behind him behind the press podium and to, again, whine about his wall on an historic day for Democrats is absurd. But it’s also something that the American people told you they didn't want. And so this is not doing him or Republicans any favor and I'm waiting to see when Republicans in Congress will stand up with him. 

KUCINICH: But he wanted enough attention on — he knew that if they called the press in there, everyone would take it live. Everyone would cover it. It reminds me actually of when he decided to say about Obama's birth certificate where he made everyone come to the Trump Hotel and we all waited and at the end he said oh, yeah he what is born here and left. I mean, — but he got all this attention. That’s what it reminded me of.

NAVARRO: The reason — you asked the question why. It's obvious because they then control the narrative. 

KUCINICH: Right. 

NAVARRO: We've had an entire show where we were going to talk about oversight and we were going to talk about investigations and potential impeachment, and the attorney general of New York and instead for 30 minutes, we're talking about what Donald Trump wants to us talk about which is Donald Trump, his favorite subject in the world.

KEILAR: Let's talk about the false narrative here though, right? Okay, he said something off the top that it was interesting to hear where his mind was though it was not in fact land to be clear. He said he’s never had so much support. “I've never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security, control, the wall or the barrier. Calls coming in, people writing in and tweeting.” Okay. If he is getting calls and tweets, that is not a measure of where the American people are. We know that, thank goodness, with the tweets we get all the time, too, right? That’s what gives me a little — but let me just —

KRISTOL: He’s not getting calls. You know how we're not getting calls? because the White House switchboard is closed because of the government shutdown. If you call 456 —

KEILAR: Well, let’s. He has a cell phone. He has a cell phone, Bill.

KRISTOL: If you call the 45 — if you call 456-1414, you get a recording, I believe.

KEILAR: Let’s — let’s look at this poll when you look at where the American people on the wall. Would you favor or oppose building a wall along the entire border with Mexico? This was done last month. 57 percent oppose. This is not where public opinion is, Jackie. 

KUCINICH: Right and they also opposed shutting down the government for the border wall, but the President doesn't care because it's not about the nation. It's about his base because when you break down the numbers even a little bit more, there was an NPR poll a couple weeks ago, Republicans are the ones who don’t want him to compromise on this. He's playing to the people he cares about, who he's always cared about. This is about politics. The wall is Donald Trump, Donald Trump is the wall. It’s about him. 

KEILAR: Let's not talk about mentioned here, Jackie. He is not mentioning these Americans and these federal workers. 800,000 of them, and how many more people who rely on contract work with the government who are not getting paid, and a lot of these people are paycheck to paycheck. They need that check on January 11th and they are freaking out that they are not going to get it. They didn't mention it. 

SANDERS: Look, I think honestly, I think it was Rick Santorum who said on this show yesterday —

KUCINICH: Yeah I was about to say the same thing. 

SANDERS: — that’s what I was watching at home — who said the president won't — isn't moved by empathy. Rick Santorum sat here on this show and said Donald Trump doesn't care about the folks at home not getting their paychecks. Donald Trump doesn't care you and, you know, what he sold a number of people in this country a bill of goods he said — when he convinced people that he was the billionaire that was going to fight for the little guy. This is a physical embodiment. We’re seeing it play out what Donald Trump real cares about and where he's willing to put his quote unquote political muscle at. I — I hope folks are paying attention. I hope the quote, unquote forgotten man and woman that Donald Trump keeps talking about are watching, are listening because  he's letting you know exactly where his bread is buttered. I’m a tell you — it ain't in the forgotten windmills of the Midwest. 

NBDaily Congress Government shutdown Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN The Lead Video Bill Kristol Brianna Keilar Jackie Kucinich Kaitlan Collins Donald Trump Ana Navarro
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