CNN said on Wednesday that one of its correspondents at the White House, Kaitlin Collins, was barred from working on coverage of one of President Donald Trump’s events.
Collins was barred from an event at the Rose Garden for asking questions at an earlier event about a recording of Trump allegedly discussing with his former attorney Michael Cohen a way to pay former Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about an alleged case with the president of the USA.
Collins asked about the audio recording at a photo shoot in the Oval Office while Trump kept an agenda with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
CNN said in a statement that White House Communications director Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders told Collins that her questions were “inappropriate” and that she could not attend the event at the Rose Garden in which Trump and Juncker announced trade talks.
“This decision to ban a member of the press is retaliation by nature and is not indicative of an open and free press. We demand more,” CNN said.
Trump often complains about CNN’s coverage of his term, saying he considers it unfair.
Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents Association, criticized the Trump administration’s decision.
“We strongly condemn the White House’s misguided and inadequate decision to prevent one of our members from attending an open press event after she asked questions they did not like,” Knox said in a statement.
In a statement that did not cite Collins, Sanders said a reporter had shouted questions and refused to leave at the end of a press event at the Oval Office.
“Our team later reported that she was not welcome to attend the next event but made it clear that any other journalist in her network could participate,” Sanders said.
Jay Wallace, president of Fox News, which adopts a more favorable line to Trump, expressed support for CNN.
“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unrestricted press,” Wallace said in a statement.