Trump banned reporters from covering his dinner with dictator Kim Jong Un, who he praised as a 'friend.'
Trump banned news outlets on Wednesday from covering his dinner with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who Trump had praised the previous day on Twitter as a "friend."
"The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un," Trump tweeted Tuesday.
The incident is just the latest example of Trump attacking and imposing restrictions on the press — a leadership trait very much in the mold of oppressive regimes like North Korea.
Print reporters from outlets like the Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg were barred from covering the dinner by the White House. Initially, the Trump team sought to ban all the reporters other than photographers from covering the dinner — but the photographers protested.
Because of that, one print and one radio pool reporter were allowed into the room to cover the story along with still photographers, but four print and wire reporters were still kept out.
Trump and Kim exchanged niceties during the photo session.
"While the WH punished reporters for asking Trump questions, Trump reveled in the attention of the print photographers allowed into the dinner spray, asking Doug Mills to send him photos so he could share them with Kim," noted Eli Stokols, White House reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made up an excuse for the press ban, claiming the restrictions were in place "due to the sensitive nature of the meetings."
After the dinner, Trump joked about selling access to the meeting: "Boy, if you could have heard that dialogue, what you would pay for that dialogue. It was good."
Kim presides over a repressive regime that has often been slammed by international observers for its hostility to free speech. North Koreans have been subjected to decades of propaganda from the state and do not have a free press.
Trump is trying to impose North Korea-style limitations on the press while desecrating America's First Amendment.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.