Trump’s authoritarian streak vis-a-vis the media took a personal turn yesterday, when he told a reporter to “Be quiet” when she ventured to ask a question during a White House photo op.
While Trump was posing with White House interns, Associated Press reporter Catherine Lucey asked the president if Jeff Sessions should resign. The interns laughed. The president rolled his eyes and smirked.
Lucey ventured another question: “Do you have a message on health care?”
“Quiet!” Trump responded.
He then told the interns, “You see, they’re not supposed to do that, but they do it. But they’re not supposed to.” He added: “So she’s breaking, you know, you know, she’s breaking a code, but they don’t care.”
The Associated Press noted that it is standard practice for reporters to shout out questions during photo ops or bill signings, “and the president frequently answers.”
The encounter comes on the heels of the arrival of Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director who has said he’d like to “press the reset button” with the media.
It will take more like a heavy lean for White House-press relations to be normalized. The Trump administration has exhibited an unprecedented distaste for the press and a willingness to restrict access, moving press briefings from televised and live to audio-only and embargoed, and barring news sources critical to Trump from certain closed-door briefings.
This isn’t the first time Trump has called out a female reporter in a way that could not precisely be described as respectful. Perhaps the best-known example: At the microphone during a campaign rally, he tried to pick NBC’s Katy Tur out of the crowd, calling her “Little Katy” and criticizing her reporting.
Yesterday, the administration released the intern class photo that was the scene of the shushing incident. Several Twitter users observed that it puts the “white” in “White House.”
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) July 24, 2017
No one has asked about that yet.