President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is pushing television networks to reconsider interviewing guests who’ve accused the commander in chief of collusion with Russia, but a former employee of one of Trump’s favorite channels is speaking out in opposition.
Abby Huntsman, a co-host on ABC’s “The View” who previously co-hosted “Fox & Friends” (and is also a former host of the now-defunct HuffPost Live), criticized the memo Trump’s campaign sent Monday to news outlets, suggesting it was playing with double standards.
“Should we block White House folks that come on shows that say ... ‘alternative facts,’ or, according to Rudy Giuliani, ‘truth isn’t truth?’” she asked on Tuesday’s episode of the show. “The White House is not in a position to tell the media what to do.”
In 2017, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway made headlines when she claimed in a “Meet the Press” appearance that then-press secretary Sean Spicer had used “alternative facts” when he falsely claimed that Trump had a record number of attendees at his inauguration.
Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, shocked viewers in a “Meet the Press” interview of his own when he uttered his infamous “truth isn’t truth” remark while explaining that he didn’t want Trump to be caught in a perjury trap if he agreed to testify in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Now that Attorney General William Barr has released his summary of Mueller’s report, writing that the special counsel investigation did not determine that the Trump campaign had committed collusion, Huntsman said it was time to move on.
“I think this is such a moment for a president to bring this country together,” she said, adding that despite her hopes, “what we continue to see is that never happens.”
Huntsman criticized Trump’s efforts to “double down politically” on the Mueller report, noting, “I think it’s a dangerous place to be when you’re attacking the media that way, although there are a lot of questions to be answered from people in the media that need to back it up.”
Axios reporter Jonathan Swan posted the Trump campaign’s memo to networks on Twitter. The campaign names several Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.), Eric Swalwell (Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), accusing them of spreading “outlandish” and “false claims.”
It also targets Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and former CIA Director John Brennan.
The letter, which quoted the guests’ statements without context, asked that news outlets “employ basic journalistic standards when booking” them.
While Trump supporters have celebrated Barr’s summary of the Mueller report as a victory, the full report has yet to be made public. And when it comes to obstruction of justice, Barr notes that the special counsel investigation did not find that Trump had committed a crime, but did not exonerate him, either.