Since CNN’s middle name is “News,” viewers of the weekday morning New Day program expect to catch up on the latest headlines and watch in-depth investigations on the topics of the day. That wasn’t quite the case on Wednesday, when the final segment of the program was devoted to a “hard-hitting” report on whether President Donald Trump is afraid of stairs.
The two-minute segment by Jeanne Moos, the network’s national correspondent, focused on several British newspapers that claim the GOP occupant of the White House has “bathmophobia,” the fear of stairs and slopes.
“’ScareCase’ chortled one British paper back when President Trump took Prime Minister [Theresa] May’s hand as they navigated their way up at the White House,” Moos stated before claiming that British government sources told the press that the president’s rare condition might cause sufferers to panic at the mere sight of a flight of stairs.
She asserted that the fear doesn’t just affect the president before showing a clip of President George W. Bush “nudging Barney,” his pet Scottish Terrier, up the ramp of stairs onto Air Force One.
As you might expect, “Trump stairs jokes were ramped up” at the president’s expense.
At that point, a puppet that resembled a television anchor stated: “Finally, an explanation for all those escalators.”
The “reporter” then turned to a puppet version of Trump -- which was dressed up with a “beehive” hairdo and a red-and-gold sash -- and stated: “Escalators are great. They’re really, really amazing, and I’ve been told I look really great on them.”
“Ever since first hearing about the phobia rumor,” Moos admitted, “I’ve become slightly obsessed with watching President Trump watch his step.”
Next came video of the Republican official “really watching his step coming down the stairs of the Capitol, even while climbing just a couple of steps at the White House,” she noted.
Another clip showed the president “coming off his plane, his eyes on his feet, clutching the railing.”
Moos then referred to a Tweet Trump posted criticizing the way President Barack Obama used to jog down the stairs “hopping & bobbing all the way” which “is so inelegant and unpresidential. Do not fall!”
The correspondent then showed instances in which “President Obama caught himself” before falling down the stairs on Air Force One “while (former Republican President) Gerald Ford and (previous Democratic presidential candidate) Hillary (Clinton) didn’t.”
When asked if the president has fears of stairs, a White House spokesperson responded: “No offense, but this is an absurd question.”
“And now,” Moos stated, “Britain’s prime minister has told Vogue: ‘I think he was actually being a gentleman. We were about to walk down a ramp, and he said it might be a bit awkward.’”
In making that comment, “the prime minister throws cold water on the bathmophobia theory. Guess that means we can cancel that ban on steps.”
The final clip showed the Trump puppet demanding: “All new houses will have to be single story, no stairs.”
When the camera focused on the program’s co-hosts, Alisyn Camerota remarked: “I had never heard of” bathmophobia, “but you can make a case for it.”
Fellow co-host Chris Cuomo replied: “It’s the least of his concerns,” which led Camerota to ask if he agrees with the White House that the question was indeed “absurd.”
“I don’t think any question is absurd,” he responded, “but I think that with everything else he’s facing, a little bit of caution” would be a good thing.
CNN devoted the final two minutes of Wednesday’s broadcast of New Day to questioning whether or not President Trump is afraid of stairs.
Datoc concluded his assessment of the report by humorously referring to it as “great stuff.”
Many fears have been translated into “phobias,” including the mistaken notion that “acrophobia” as the fear of acrobats instead of heights.