During Tuesday’s New Day, the CNN panel discussed President Trump’s treatment of ABC reporter Cecilia Vega during Monday's press conference in the Rose Garden and specifically whether or not his “snide comment” towards her was a result of sexism. CNN political analyst Brian Karem used his platform on the network’s flagship morning program to refer to President Trump as a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”
President Trump held the press conference to announce the framework of a replacement trade deal for NAFTA between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. He called on Vega, remarking that she looked like she was in “a state of shock” that he picked her. Vega responded, “I’m not thinking. Mr. President.” He replied, “It’s okay, you never do,” before letting her ask her question; which had nothing to do with the topic of the press conference, instead focusing on the investigation into eleventh hour allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Co-host Alisyn Camerota opened the segment by saying “amid the Brett Kavanaugh controversy, President Trump is under scrutiny for his treatment of female journalists.” Camerota wanted Bloomberg's Margaret Talev to weigh on the Trump-Vega exchange, asking “was that sexist or is that the President being the President to all journalists?” Talev argued that President Trump’s treatment of Vega was not sexist: “I’ve seen President Trump go after a number of reporters regardless of gender. I think...if the first questioner had been a man asking the question, he would have gotten exactly the same sort of treatment.”
Karem argued that while President Trump was “equally offensive to everyone” at that event, “that doesn’t mean that he’s not a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Karem gets no credit for originality as liberal actresses Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda used the exact same phrase to describe President Trump at last year’s Emmy Awards. Karem later referred to President Trump as a “misanthrope” and argued that the fact that he expressed more sympathy for Judge Kavanaugh than he did for his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford proves that he is a “misogynistic, sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”
After Talev praised Trump for calling on female reporters during Monday’s presser, co-host John Berman made the case that President Trump treats female reporters differently than male reporters by playing some clips from a news conference last week. Berman accused the President of treating female reporters with a “dismissiveness and a condescension that some suggest you do not see...when he addresses male reporters like Jim Acosta.”
Karem agreed with Berman, weighing in on a testy exchange between President Trump and CNN's Kaitlan Collins: “His condescension towards all reporters exist, towards women it appears to be a little more dismissive.” While Karem acknowledged that the President “has tried to reach out” to female reporters, “you cannot deny the fact that he has a bigger problem with female reporters, with women, than he does with men.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Tuesday’s edition of New Day is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN New Day
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Well, amid the Brett Kavanaugh controversy, President Trump is under scrutiny for his treatment of female journalists. Watch this exchange yesterday with ABC’s Cecilia Vega.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: She’s shocked that I picked her. She’s, like, in a state of shock.
CECILIA VEGA: I’m not thinking, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.
VEGA: I’m sorry?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, go ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, it sounded pretty clearly that the President said, “I know you’re not thinking.”
JOHN BERMAN: That’s exactly what he said. It doesn’t sound like it. He said.
CAMEROTA: It sounded like that to me, yes. There was…it’s quite clear. He said, “I know you’re not thinking. You never do.” But the White House has a different take. Let’s bring in our CNN Political Analysts: Brian Karem. He’s the executive editor of “The Sentinel” Newspapers and was at yesterday’s press conference. We’ll hear what his lying ears told him. And Margaret Talev, she is Bloomberg News’s Senior White House Correspondent. Okay. So what the White House says in this transcript is…where is the transcript of what the White House released? “She’s shocked that I picked her. She’s like in a state of shock.” She, Cecilia Vega says, “I’m not. Thank you, Mr. President.” The President said, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thanking.”
BERMAN: Oh, give me a break.
CAMEROTA: You never do. The reporter says, “I’m sorry.” The President says, “No, go ahead. Go ahead.” Wow. Okay. So they have changed the transcript.
BRIAN KAREM: Yes, they have.
CAMEROTA: Which must mean, I think, Margaret, that they’re embarrassed or that they know it’s wrong that the President would say, “I know you’re not thinking. You never do.” Why else would they change the transcript?
MARGARET TALEV: It’s obvious what he said and the transcript should be corrected to reflect the realities of what he said.
CAMEROTA: I mean, what next? I know you’re not drinking? I mean, they can say…they keep claiming…
TALEV: No, it definitely will not say that. Not in the middle of this debate.
CAMEROTA: What do you, Margaret, think of the treatment that he gave Cecilia Vega? Is…was that sexist or is that the President being the President to all journalists?
TALEV: I know there’s been a lot of talk about this, and the reason for why is I look about the context of the age, the moment in which we’re talking about, it is respect for women. But I’ve…I’ve seen President Trump go after a number of reporters regardless of gender. I think it’s entirely possible, entirely plausible that, if the first questioner had been a man asking the question, he would have gotten exactly the same sort of treatment. The optics of it are seemingly unfortunate for the President given that, again, the moment that we’re talking about is a moment in which one of his judicial nominees is…is being questioned about his respect for women, you know, 30 years ago.
BERMAN: Yeah. Look, if they want to make the case that, you know, he’s an equal opportunity offender, let them make that case. But the idea that he didn’t say you’re not thinking, you never do. That’s a load of…that’s just bull.
BERMAN: So the transcript there, you know, that’s bull. But Brian, to the other point, you know, he…I’m sure he treats you badly.
KAREM: Oh, he loves me. Let’s go back to this. I was sitting right there when it happened. He said thinking. There’s no doubt about it. That’s exactly what the man said, and they should correct it. To Margaret’s point…and she’s right…look, he…during the course of that press conference yesterday, he was equally offensive to everyone. That doesn’t mean that he’s not a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot. It’s just that he treats all reporters. But…and the optics of it is bad, because we’re talking about a SCOTUS nominee who is being accused of sexual assault. He did insult…all right, he gave Major Garrett from CBS…Major had the microphone in his hand a couple of times and then dismissed him. He dismissed Peter Alexander, told him to stop. He told me to sit down, I was already sitting down.
BERMAN: You deserved it.
KAREM: Yeah, that’s right. I had it coming. I asked him a question about tariffs, and then he wouldn’t let me ask a question about SCOTUS. But the real telling point, if you really want to know how this President thinks, it wasn’t and isn’t how he treats reporters. He is a misanthrope, but that doesn’t excuse his misogyny. If you really want to understand how this President thinks, take a look and listen to what he said yesterday during that press conference. He was all about the apologies to Brett Kavanaugh’s family. He was all about how they’re being put out. He was all about their discomfort. This man stepped forward to be a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. He knew what he was doing, and he did it of his own free will. Now, take a look at Dr. Ford. She came forward out of a sense of civic duty. She has nothing to gain. And she has had death threats and has had to move her family around. And not once, not once did anyone in this administration or any members of the GOP come forward and say, “Listen, we appreciate what you’re doing and what you’re toughing out and what you’re going through.” No, it’s always been about Mr. Kavanaugh. So that’s where the tip-off is. That’s where you see that he’s a misogynistic, sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.
CAMEROTA: I don’t know that that is Exhibit A of everything that you’re saying, because as we know, the President always sides with the accused.
CAMEROTA: He feels empathy for the accused, not the accuser. I think, Margaret, in this one particular case, I mean, the bar is low, obviously, for the President, because he always sides with the accused. But he actually has been less attacking of Christine Blasey Ford than people had suspected at first he would be. He’s the person who has said, “I think that some of her testimony was very credible.”
TALEV: Did sound credible, yes.
KAREM: He has…he has said that.
TALEV: And he spoke yesterday also…he was pretty careful in a lot of his remarks yesterday. He really veered away from criticizing the FBI, going after, you know, Comey and Strzok and Lisa Page, kind of…kind of the normal set list. And so…which is what made, kind of the fact that this turned into being viewed through the lens of women, how are you treating women? I actually think when you were even looking at the people he was calling on, he seemed to be going out of his way to be calling largely on women during the news conference yesterday.
KAREM: He did that, yes.
CAMEROTA: So maybe our lens is wrong.
BERMAN: But that may be because…that may be because Jim Acosta pointed out last week…
CAMEROTA: That’s right.
BERMAN: …that he went to three men before he went to a single woman.
CAMEROTA: But still, maybe he’s course correcting. But maybe he’s course correcting.
BERMAN: But Margaret agrees with me, by the way. She says that’s…hang on one second, Brian. Because this does not happen, this does not happen in a vacuum, either. What he did to Cecilia Vega, who did not deserve it in any way, and what he said was repugnant. It’s not in a vacuum. I mean, he has done similar things to other female members of the press corps; just last week at this news conference with an NBC reporter and a CBS reporter. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: One more question. Yes. She stands up, “I’d like to ask about three questions.” It’s not really fair to everyone else, but should I let her ask another question?
WEIJA JIANG: If I could just actually ask my question, Mr. Trump. You didn’t let me ask my question.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You…you’ve been asking a question for ten minutes. Please sit down.
HANNAH THOMAS-PETER: Are you at all concerned at the message that is being sent, being sent to the women who are watching this when you use language like “con job” in relation to allegations of sexual assault?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ve used much worse language in my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: But in particular to Hallie and the CBS reporter there, Margaret, what you do see is a dismissiveness and a condescension that some suggest you do not see…you see ire when he addresses male reporters like Jim Acosta but not necessarily the condescension.
TALEV: I mean, so there’s an increasing number of women in the White House press corps. That’s awesome. During my year at the WHCA, my decade or so covering the White House, we’ve seen increasingly more and more women join the ranks of the press corps. But what you’re going to have when you have a briefing room with more women is more women getting called on. And the President’s instinctive or natural reactions to each individual reporter, some of whom he has a personal affinity for, some of whom he doesn’t, are all going to be on display. And with him it’s very instinctive, instinctual, off-the-cuff sort of behavior. In Cecilia Vega’s case, she raised a really important point, by the way, which is, “Hey, it’s a news conference. The whole point of a news conference is…”
CAMEROTA: To get to the news.
TALEV: Is that we get to decide, you know, what the questions are. And he’s…the President has stayed away from the news conference format for a long time. He now seems to be coming back to it really in full form for the first time of his presidency, and what we’re seeing is he likes the format. It’s kind of a…he likes to change it up a little bit. And this seems to be a format that he wants to explore more between now and heading into the midterms. But the problem is with a news conference, the reporter gets to decide what the questions are.
CAMEROTA: Right. I mean, and reporters get to ask the questions, Brian. I mean, this is how…this is the whole predicate of the news conference. Here’s Kaitlan Collins, our own Kaitlan Collins of CNN and the President, again, being true to form, in not wanting her to ask a question. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, go ahead, please.
KAITLAN COLLINS: So just to wrap up…can you promise to release the FBI report?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Hey, you know what? You’ve really had enough. Hey, you’ve had enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAREM: Well, that’s to the point that you were talking about earlier, Alisyn, and the same thing that Margaret was talking about. His condescension towards all reporters exist, towards women it appears to be a little more dismissive. And while, Margaret, you’re right, that yesterday, in fact, he took several questions from women, and that’s why Major Garrett, in fact, didn’t get to ask his question. He was handed the microphone. Then it was taken away from him and given, he’s…to a female reporter. He has tried to reach out. But nonetheless, if you still listen to him, you cannot deny the fact that he has a bigger problem with female reporters, with women, than he does with men. And it goes back to his actions on the campaign trail, some of the things that were on the “Access Hollywood” tape. Those things have all come back to haunt him and that…and he has not…I’m sorry, I sat through that…I sat through that yesterday.
KAREM: And he did not in any way, shape or form, acknowledge what Dr. Ford had gone through. It was all about Brett Kavanaugh.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, yeah, I hear you. Yesterday was, but I’m just saying during the course of this he’s been…
KAREM: Yes, you’re right.
CAMEROTA: All right. Brian Karem…
BERMAN: …Margaret, thank you. As the president would say, “No, thank you,” as the White House transcript, “think you” as the White House transcript would say.