Immediately after news broke that the White House had barred CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from covering President Trump’s Rose Garden announcement on Wednesday, her colleague Jake Tapper was one of the many journalists who rushed to her defense, calling the administration’s behavior “absolutely disgraceful.” He was still fired up about it when he sat down with Stephen Colbert Thursday night.
Tapper explained that as the designated pool reporter for an Oval Office photo op, Collins “asked the question that everybody would want to ask” Trump about the newly released Michael Cohen tapes. When she didn’t get an answer on that, she tried asking the president why Vladimir Putin had not yet accepted his invitation for another summit in Washington.
“Apparently,” he said, “the Trump administration, offended by the impertinence of her questions, they told her later that she could not attend another event in the Rose Garden where she was supposed to be the pool.”
“First of all, just step back for a second and contemplate the notion of anybody associated with President Trump thinking a reporter is rude,” he continued. “Just the idea that there is a delicate decorum. ‘That’s not how we conduct ourselves in this White House.’”
“When Donald Trump calls someone a low-life slimeball, he keeps his pinky out,” Colbert joked.
The “good news,” Tapper said, is that the White House press corps and other journalists put out statements in support of Collins. Even Fox News “put out a statement,” he added, “I guess, you know, speaking for the part of the news division that doesn’t spend their entire time trying to attack the rest of us—the part of the news division who is actually trying to do journalism—and said we stand for press access, we stand with Kaitlan Collins.”
But as Colbert pointed out, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs didn’t seem to get the message, saying on his broadcast, “It’s about time there were consequences for disrespectful behavior in the White House.”
In response, Tapper tweeted out a 2012 quote from Dobbs after a conservative reporter shouted questions at President Obama:
“Lou Dobbs, it might surprise you to find out, had a very different take on the situation,” Tapper told Colbert. “Sometimes I find some people in this environment, you will be interested to know, say the exact opposite thing about President Trump than they did about President Obama.”
“I'm going to fact-check that,” Colbert replied. “Because you’re fake news.”