In the latest update from the “fake news’ battlefield, President Trump hit at his favorite cable news target, CNN, with a tweet pointing to the statement by a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting last week that he refused to participate in the CNN town hall on Wednesday evening because the event “ended up being all scripted.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2018
Upon seeing the President’s tweet, CNN immediately hit back at the charges with an emphatic rebuttal.
There is absolutely no truth to this story — and we can prove that. CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever. Those are the facts. #FactsFirst
Colton Haab, the student who initially made the claims, appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News and said that he was at first asked by CNN to “write a speech and ask questions,” but became disillusioned with CNN’s process. He says that he wanted to ask a question about using trained veterans as armed school security guards.
“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab said. “I don’t think that it’s going get anything accomplished,” he added. “It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”
Richard Hudock, CNN’s senior manager of public relations, contradicted Haab’s story in a statement to The Hill.
“There is absolutely no truth to this. CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever.”
“After seeing an interview with Colton Haab, we invited him to participate in our town hall along with other students and administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” Hudock said. “Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected.”
Trump, of course, ever eager to score points against a mainstream media always at the ready to point out his frequent outright falsehoods, jumped on the dispute between CNN and the Parkland student, conveniently ignoring the primary message that the students were trying to send: that they want an assault weapons ban, expanded background checks, and the closing of gun show and private sale loopholes.
Of course, if Trump didn’t spend all of his time watching TV and tweeting, he’d be spending more time governing, and that could be even worse.