The White House is now resorting to punishing reporters who dare to do their job.
On Wednesday, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins dared to ask Trump questions during a pool spray with the press corps Wednesday.
The White House was not pleased with the reporter's attempt to do her job. So it banned her from covering an event later that same day in the Rose Garden — an event that was otherwise open to the press.
Collins says she was summoned to the office of Bill Shine, the newly appointed deputy chief of staff for communications. Shine resigned as co-president of Fox News last year amid allegations that he spent years covering up the serial sexual harassment of Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.
Shine, along with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, chastised Collins for what they called "inappropriate" questions.
Those supposedly "inappropriate" questions?
- Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?
- Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is about to say to the prosecutors?
- Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?
- Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation?
On Wednesday morning, Trump himself was griping on Twitter about the newly released recording between him and his "fixer" and former personal attorney Michael Cohen, which aired on CNN the night before.
"What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad!" Trump whined. "Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped - can this be so? Too bad!"
It should go without saying that there is nothing inappropriate about asking Trump questions about the latest drama with Cohen. Or about Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's refusal to accept Trump's invitation to the White House.
But for this petty and retaliatory White House, reporters who dare to do their jobs are a great offense to the snowflake in chief and the Fox News veteran now running his communications team. Especially after the mess Trump made last week when he answered a reporter's question during a pool spray.
Asked by ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega if "Russia is still targeting the U.S.," Trump answered, "No." His "no" came after multiple attempts by the White House to assure the world that Trump really does believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, contrary to everything he had said days before in his joint appearance with Putin.
Scrambling to undo the damage of Trump's self-defeating "no," Sanders actually dared to tell reporters that Trump didn't really mean "no" when he said it.
That explanation did not go over well.
So it's understandable that Shine and the White House team are particularly nervous now about Trump's interaction with reporters. Which is no doubt why reporters were aggressively rushed out of Wednesday's pool spray before Trump could shoot himself in the foot again by saying "no" the wrong way.
So now the White House has taken to punishing reporters because their boss doesn't know how to not get himself into trouble.
CNN is rightfully outraged at the treatment of its reporter.
"Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of day doesn't mean the question isn't relevant and shouldn't be asked," CNN said in a statement. "This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better."
CNN — as well as every other outlet — should demand better. Not that they're going to get it from this White House.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.