Two advisers to President Donald Trump attacked morning show hosts for covering the president's tweets after he issued a series of statements pushing his “travel ban,” an executive order banning U.S. entry for individuals from six majority Muslim nations. Trump also expressed his opinion that the Justice Department should have kept the original version of the ban and called for a “much tougher version.” On NBC's Today, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway lamented the “obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president,” and on CNN's New Day, Trump's Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka called Chris Cuomo's focus on Trump's tweets “irresponsible” and told him he was “obsessing,” concluding that, “if you want to keep talking about a tweet, then you're not serving your audience well or the American public.” Both Conway and Gorka referred to the media's coverage of Trump's tweets an “obsession.”
Notably, White House press secretary Sean Spicer regularly dodges questions from reporters by claiming the president's tweets speak for themselves. Trump himself has attacked the media for repeating quotes from anyone but him, saying “Don't believe the biased and phony media quoting people who work for my campaign. The only quote that matters is a quote from me!”
From the June 5 edition of NBC's Today:
KELLYANNE CONWAY: I'm not going allow -- a day and a half after terrorists did it again -- whether they're ISIS-inspired or ISIS-directed, they're savage murderes. It's an evil slaughter, as the president said last night. I'm going to not let [President Donald Trump] be seen as the perpetrator here. For every time you've said Russia, imagine if you said ISIS. Every time you say Twitter, imagine if you said terrorist. Maybe we'd have a different type of vigilance.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE (CO-HOST): Kellyanne, in fairness, he's setting the agenda. He's the president. He speaks, the reporter cover what he said.
CONWAY: But you know, this obsession with covering everything he says on Twitte and very little of what he does as president --
CRAIG MELVIN (CO-HOST): That's his preferred method of communication with the American people
CONWAY: That's not true.
From the June 5 edition of CNN's New Day:
SEBASTIAN GORKA: I just find it really disappointing that, not only did you have one of your staff on before me for several minutes to discuss the president’s tweets, that now we’re eight minutes into this interview and you’re doing it again. Let’s talk about policy. I’d like to talk about policy, not tweets.
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): That is the policy. His tweets are the policy.
GORKA: A hundred characters is not policy. It’s not policy.
CUOMO: They are statements from the president of the United States about what he wants.
GORKA: It’s not policy. It’s social media, Chris.
GORKA: To judge national security in a time of things like the Manchester and London attacks based upon social media statements is irresponsible of you, Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO: Irresponsible of me to report on what the president of the United States says?
GORKA: Of you. No, to obsess. To obsess
GORKA: For now 20 minutes. Yeah. Twenty minutes, you're obsessed.
CUOMO: Sebastian, I just want to get this straight because you're a smart guy. I want to make sure everybody understands your point. The president of the United States decides multiple times to tell the entire world what he wants our travel policy to be with respect to these Muslim countries, and you're saying ignore it, because it's a tweet and not a piece of paper that says executive order on it. That's what you're saying?
GORKA: Now you're arguing from extremis and it's again disappointing. Did I say ignore? No, I said don't obsess about it.