Report: Trump Has Banned CNN Anchors From Annual Pre-State of the Union Lunch

By A.J. Katz 

President Trump’s attacks on CNN continue in 2020.

CNN’s Brian Stelter reports that CNN anchors are being excluded from the annual lunch with broadcast and cable news network anchors, which traditionally takes place hours before the president’s the State of the Union address.

The lunch conversation is considered off the record, but it gives the anchors a sense of what presidents will be speaking about before they anchor SOTU coverage.

Despite Pres. Trump expressing hatred for the broadcast and cable news outlets on what seems to be a daily basis, he has kept this White House tradition over his first 3 years in office. It appears that will continue in his 4th year.

Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer attended last year’s pre-State of the Union lunch. In fact, Blitzer has been these lunches for 20 years in a row.

According to Stelter, journalists from other networks are still planning on attending.

One of the most notable moments from past SOTU lunches hosted by Trump include his attacks on NBC’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt. Back in 2018, then-Politico reporter Michael Calderone reported:

The president took a needling tone with Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” telling the group that Todd’s the nicest guy in the world until he gets on the show and then becomes “a monster.”

He had a more pointed exchange with NBC News anchor Lester Holt regarding a May 2017 interview in which the president said he considered the “Russia thing” when deciding to fire former FBI director James Comey. The president accused Holt of editing the interview to remove Trump comments the president claimed were almost “Shakespearean,” according to attendees. Holt responded that the entire interview ran online.

Trump, who starred in NBC’s “The Apprentice,” also commented during the lunch about how much money he made for the network and suggested the company’s brass, rather than the specific journalists, were to blame for coverage he doesn’t like.

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