President Donald Trump’s former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, said Sunday that he disagrees with the way the White House reprimanded a CNN reporter for asking questions during a photo op, adding that the decision to punish the reporter “probably came from the President.”
“I disagree with it,” Scaramucci told anchor Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What is the desired outcome, I guess that people don’t ask you those questions? Well guess what? The First Amendment gives these reporters the right to do that. … This is what all these reporters have been doing for 30 or 40 years.”
The White House on Wednesday barred CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins from an open press event after she asked Trump questions at an Oval Office photo op with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that the White House deemed inappropriate.
As is customary, Collins. who was acting as a pool reporter representing major television networks, lobbed a few questions at the President, asking about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Trump did not answer the questions.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders claimed Collins “shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so.”
Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in on the matter on Sunday, telling Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” “This administration believes in the freedom of the press … but maintaining the decorum that is due at the White House, I think is an issue that we’ll continue to work for. But I’m very confident that whether it be with that network or any network or any members of the media, that we’ll continue to work in a way that ensures the access of the American people to this administration.”
Scaramucci, who served as Trump’s communications director for less than two weeks, said Sunday that Trump might have been behind the decision to bar Collins.
“I don’t know this for a fact — that (order) probably came from the President,” Scaramucci said. “He likes to be respected. He was probably frustrated at that moment.”
Scaramucci also advised his former colleagues to “take (Collins) out of the penalty box.”
“Having a war declaration or having that level of antagonism with the press does not help the President, does not serve his interests going into the midterms or the reelection,” he said.