White House officials and members of the Republican Party’s leadership were notably absent from Sunday news shows just one week after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last week began with President Donald Trump failing to clearly denounce white supremacists and neo-Nazis and ended with the firing of chief White House strategist Steve Bannon. In between, Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, outraging both Republicans and Democrats for morally equating white supremacists and neo-Nazis with the demonstrators who showed up to protest their racism and anti-Semitism.
“To give you a sense of how reluctant Republicans are to talk about President Trump this week, not one member of the current Republican leadership in Congress agreed to come on the broadcast this morning,” Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” told viewers. “In fact, even the White House was unable, or perhaps unwilling, to provide a guest, right down to the White House press secretary.”
Fox News host Leland Vittert told viewers that “nobody” from the White House would come on the air to discuss Bannon’s outing.
“We, along with a number of other networks, have all tried to get somebody from the administration to come on today and to talk about this big staff shakeup. Nobody will,” he said.
Instead, the White House has referred news shows to Trump supporters working outside of the administration.
ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, who hosted “This Week,” told viewers that when the program asked the White House for an official who could appear on the show, they pointed bookers to evangelical leader and Liberty University president, Jerry Fallwel Jr.
On “Fox & Friends,” Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski discussed Bannon’s exit, while on “Fox News Sunday,” former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie discussed the latest White House staffing change.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who criticized Trump’s response to Charlottesville earlier this week, doubled down on his argument that the president needs to regain moral authority during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“At this point it’s not what the president says next, it’s what he does,” Scott said.