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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Donald Trump Clashes With NBC News Correspondent Over Press Access to 2024 Campaign Events

Donald J. Trump, known for coining the term “fake news” and branding the news media as “the enemy of the people” during his presidency, is once again in a clash with journalists, this time over press access to his 2024 campaign events. A recent incident involved an NBC News correspondent, Vaughn Hillyard, who claimed that Trump’s aides prevented him from covering an event in New Hampshire, where the former president was expected to make his first in-person remarks after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race.

Hillyard, a longstanding NBC News correspondent covering Trump, intended to attend the event as a pool reporter representing five major TV networks. However, he reported that the Trump team objected to his presence, leading to a disruption in the pooling system for campaign journalists. The pool system allows one reporter to attend on behalf of multiple news organizations, ensuring coverage in situations with limited space, such as candidate events.

In an email to the pool, Hillyard explained the situation, stating that the Trump campaign informed NBC News at about 2:20 p.m. that the pool would not be allowed to travel with Trump that day. He mentioned that the campaign threatened to cut off the pool for the day if he attended. The TV pool includes ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, with each network taking turns providing a pool reporter.

The Trump campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, acknowledged that the network pool did not attend the New Hampshire event but insisted that the campaign does not bar reporters based on their reporting. Cheung argued that some events are held without a network pool, emphasizing that the pooling system for presidential candidates is less formal than the one for covering the president at the White House. He stated that the campaign works with reporters based on mutual agreement.

NBC News declined to comment on the incident, and later on Sunday, Hillyard was allowed to attend a Trump rally in Rochester, New Hampshire.

This incident adds to a series of episodes in Trump’s political career where he restricted journalist access to events or news conferences. During the 2016 campaign, he excluded reporters from The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News from certain rallies. As president, his administration revoked a CNN reporter’s press pass and barred specific journalists from public events.

Hillyard has previously faced Trump’s displeasure with his questions, particularly those deemed impertinent. In March of the previous year, during a meeting with journalists aboard Trump’s plane, the former president grabbed Hillyard’s phone and asked for his removal, stating, “Get him out of here,” as reported by Vanity Fair.

Earlier in the week, at a separate event in New Hampshire, Hillyard pressed Representative Elise Stefanik of New York about Trump being found liable in a civil trial for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll.

This clash over press access reflects the ongoing tension between the former president and the media, with Trump’s team taking actions that journalists perceive as restricting coverage. As the 2024 campaign season unfolds, the dynamics of media access to political events and candidates continue to be a point of contention, highlighting the challenges faced by reporters covering high-profile figures.

David Faber
David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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