CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker says he thinks President Donald Trump hasn’t appeared on his network since winning the election because he is simply afraid to be held accountable.
“I believe CNN is the only major news organization in the country that has not had an interview with Trump as president,” Zucker said. “I do think that tells you he knows he would be held to account on CNN.”
Zucker spoke to reporters on Thursday morning during a breakfast in New York to celebrate the fourth anniversary to the CNN’s morning show “New Day.” The conversation quickly turned to Trump, who Zucker said he has not spoken directly with since December 2016.
Zucker and Trump have a long history that includes Zucker green-lighting “The Apprentice” when he worked for NBC. These days, Trump doesn’t like the way CNN covers him and famously refers to the network as “fake news” on a regular basis.
The CNN boss said Trump not appearing on the network “in no way” hurts CNN, but he did note that “New Day” has a standing request for the president to appear on the morning show.
“New Day” co-anchors Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota were also on hand at the breakfast, and Camerota said she doesn’t think Trump’s spokespeople bring much to the table when it comes to conveying the president’s message.
Trump staffers such as Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway have made themselves available to CNN on occasion, but Camerota thinks they have an almost impossible job.
“I just don’t think the president’s spokespeople, in this era, are that useful,” Camerota said. “I’ve changed my expectation… I don’t think anybody can channel this president.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer is another Trump staffer who often has a hard time conveying the president’s message. Cuomo said he has not been as “generous” to Spicer as other media members have been, saying it’s Spicer’s choice to do the job.
“He’s not eight [years old]. This is his job. He’s supposed to serve the American people and can leave whenever he wants,” Cuomo said. However, to think that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or anybody, is going to be able to deal with what the president is putting out there on a regular basis, in a way that… [is] coherent is too high a bar.”
Cuomo said Trump says and tweets things that his communications team doesn’t necessarily believe or understand.
“You have to call it out,” he said. “That’s what I do on the show every day and that’s why you do not see some of them on ‘New Day’ as much as other places.”