US presidential administrations once used television news programs to explain their agenda and highlight what could be expected from the White House in coming days. But under Donald Trump, these appearances are deteriorating into little more than sparring matches between journalists and government officials, with some heavily scripted pro-Trump talking points thrown in.
This morning on CNN, White House advisor Stephen Miller spent most of his air time praising Trump, while criticizing the network, and anchor Jake Tapper. He also criticized former aide Stephen Bannon and Fire and Fury, the recently-published book in which Bannon calls the president’s son “treasonous.” The role of Bannon (who refers to Miller as his “typist” in the book) “has been greatly exaggerated,” Miller said, “whereas the President hasn’t gotten the due that he deserves.”
Trump is a “a self-made billionaire who revolutionized reality TV,” Miller said twice.
Miller called Bannon an “angry, vindictive person,” and repeatedly refused to answer questions posed to him. Tapper ended the interview abruptly, telling Miller “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”
As has become customary after Trump aides and supporters clash with mainstream media anchors, both sides declared victory. Trump tweeted that Tapper “got destroyed” while critics of the president called Miller crazy.
Earlier this week, Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican Congressman from California who is a steadfast Trump supporter, spent most of his airtime on CNN scolding anchorwoman Ana Cabrera for the channel’s coverage of Trump, while avoiding questions about the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the last US presidential election.