CNN Excluded From White House's Pre-State of the Union Lunch with News Anchors

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Posted: Feb 04, 2020 10:35 AM
CNN Excluded From White House's Pre-State of the Union Lunch with News Anchors

Source: AP Photo/Ron Harris

Brian Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent, reported that the network had been disinvited from the White House's annual pre-State of the Union lunch with news anchors.

The dinner is considered off the record, but "it gives the anchors a sense of the president's state of mind before they anchor" State of the Union coverage.

"CNN's Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer attended last year's lunch. Blitzer has been attending these lunches longer than almost any other anchor — 20 years in a row," Stelter reported. "Journalists from other networks are still planning on attending, according to sources at those networks. This is the first time in recent memory that a president has singled out one network and opted not invite any anchors from there."

There is no question about the bad blood between President Trump and CNN, with Trump often clashing with their reporters or calling them "fake news" on Twitter. In turn, some at CNN have returned Trump's jabs with their own insults.

Most recently, CNN host Don Lemon and two guests in January, Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson, heavily mocked Trump and his voters as fly-over state rednecks who can't read, spell, or understand maps. The segment sparked heavy backlash, prompting Lemon to discuss the incident the following week.

"Because this is personally important to me to address this. Anyone, ask anyone who knows me. I don’t believe in belittling people, belittling anyone for who they are, what they believe, or where they’re from," Lemon said. "During an interview on Saturday night my guest said something that made me laugh. In the moment I found the joke humorous and didn’t catch everything said. Just to make this clear, I was laughing at the joke. And not at any group of people."

Trump is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.