WASHINGTON ― In a sign that mounting scandals involving Donald Trump and his administration have perhaps become untenable for Republicans, GOP officials are refusing to appear on major television networks to defend or comment on the president.
Following reports that Trump asked then-FBI director James Comey to shut down his investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s ties to Russia, “CBS This Morning” reported Wednesday that it invited 20 Republican lawmakers, as well as White House staff, to appear on the program.
“All declined our invitation,” host Charlie Rose said.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes responded that the same was true of his program.
On Wednesday morning, the BBC interviewed the White House correspondent of conservative outlet Newsmax, in the absence of any Republican lawmakers or White House officials willing to appear.
Even Trump-friendly Fox News is having trouble booking GOP guests to comment on Trump, though the network has provided far less coverage of the stories about the president, particularly on its prime time shows.
“We’ve tried tonight to get Republicans to come out and talk to us, and there are no Republicans willing to go on camera tonight as of yet,” host Bret Baier said on air Tuesday evening, soon after The New York Times broke its story of Comey’s memo documenting the meeting in which Trump allegedly told him to stop investigating Flynn.
By contrast, Democratic lawmakers have swarmed the airwaves, from calling for a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, to urging impeachment proceedings for the president.
Among many accounts of the White House in total chaos, Politico reported early Wednesday that administration officials were reluctant to appear on TV “because no one knew what to say or how to defend the story.”
White House officials have provided an array of conflicting explanations for Trump’s abrupt firing of Comey last Tuesday and his revealing of classified information to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting the following day.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, GOP lawmakers are finding a variety of ways to express how they are “very concerned” and “disturbed” about the growing revelations from Trump’s White House. Yet few are calling for any definitive action, and some continue to remain silent or dismiss the scandals as fabrications of the media.