Vice President Mike Pence has declined to allow the nation’s top health officials from appearing on CNN since the network stopped carrying the daily coronavirus briefings in their entirety, CNN reported on Thursday.
The vice president’s office, which is responsible for booking those officials to deliver critical information about the coronavirus pandemic killing thousands of Americans, told CNN “it will only allow experts such as Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci to appear on CNN if the network televises the portion of the White House briefings that includes the vice president and other coronavirus task force members.”
“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,” a Pence spokesperson told CNN.
CNN says it has recently only broadcasted President Donald Trump’s question and answer session, which sometimes includes the health care officials, live on-air.
The network says that it often cuts out of the White House briefing to discuss and fact-check what the President had said after he leaves the podium.
A CNN executive said that the network “usually returns to such programming because of the extensive length of the full briefing that includes Pence, which can run in excess of two hours.”
CNN noted that it did air the vice president’s portion of the briefing Wednesday night.
The network reported that Pence’s office has declined to make the nation’s top health care officials available to CNN for the last seven days.
Fauci, Birx, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have all appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox during the last week, despite the fact that the broadcast networks have generally not covered the briefings that have included the vice president and health officials.
But the Vice President’s office has blocked all CNN appearances since last Thursday night.
Fauci appeared on the last five weekly CNN Town Halls, with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The Vice President’s office has refused to make him, or anyone, available for Thursday’s town hall. The White House has made two non health care officials available to CNN in the last week. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper appeared on “State of the Union” on Sunday and Peter Navarro appeared on Anderson Cooper’s show on Friday and “New Day” on Monday.