National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday addressed the White House’s decision to scrap his previously scheduled interview with CNN after one of the network’s reporters allegedly “disrespected” President Donald Trump last week.
Bolton was dismissive when ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked him about Trump’s repeated attacks on the press and whether it was appropriate for the White House to deny a news organization access to an administration official.
“Look, in reality I don’t seek out the press,” said Bolton, a former Fox News contributor. “I don’t talk to them. I appear when I’m asked to and if I’m not asked to appear I don’t do it. And I don’t communicate with them either as you could find out if you consulted your friends in the Washington press corps who I don’t communicate with.”
Bolton had been confirmed to appear Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” but Jake Tapper, the show’s host, announced Saturday that the White House had pulled the plug on the interview.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Tapper, tweeting that a CNN reporter had “disrespected” Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May during a press conference in England on Friday.
Sanders was apparently referring to CNN’s Jim Acosta, who had attempted to ask Trump a question during the press conference but was skipped.
“CNN is fake news,” Trump said after Acosta tried to ask about his attacks against the network. “I don’t answer questions from CNN.”
Trump instead called on John Roberts of Fox News, a network known for its friendly coverage of the Trump administration.
It’s unclear how the CNN reporter’s conduct was disrespectful to Trump and May. Sanders did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
CNN, as well as NBC and ABC, have been frequent targets of Trump’s unrelenting assault on the media. When asked whether Trump’s aggressive rhetoric is undermining the free press, Bolton demurred.
“I think the question’s silly,” Bolton responded.
Watch the full exchange between Bolton and Karl below: