TV news shows have had trouble finding Republican lawmakers and White House surrogates to appear on camera to defend President Trump in the wake of the latest revelations about the president possibly pressuring then-FBI director James Comey into dropping the bureau’s investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
On Tuesday night, Fox News anchor Brett Baier said on air, “We’ve tried… there aren’t Republicans willing to go on camera tonight.”
“CBS This Morning” reached out to 20 GOP lawmakers in addition to White House surrogates, but they all declined, according to co-anchor Charlie Rose. Politico’s Jake Sherman tweeted that he’s “hearing a lot of this from TV Folk” and the White House is “not providing surrogates.”
MSNBC’s Joy Reid noted “the absence of Republicans on TV tonight,” according to CNN’s Brian Stelter.
On Tuesday, New York Times published a bombshell report citing FBI officials who had seen a memo by then-director James Comey claiming that President Trump had asked him during an Oval Office meeting to drop the bureau’s investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Mr. Comey about the feds’ Flynn investigation, according to Times. The report has led to speculation that Trump’s conversation might be considered obstruction of justice — a charge that led to the impeachment of both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
It’s unclear if the lack of Republicans willing to defend Trump’s latest crisis is a result of a gag order or if they simply don’t know how to explain this one. According to the White House’s official website, Sean Spicer will not be conducting a press briefing today either.
Trump hasn’t even attempted to defend himself on Twitter, which is highly unusual.
One network that doesn’t seem to have any problems is Fox Business: Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Peter King, Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Luther Strange are all scheduled to appear on the network on Wednesday.
TheWrap has reached out to all the major networks, asking if they’ve had problems booking GOP officials. We will update this story as information becomes available.