Trump hits CNN as ‘fake news’ over Florida student’s claim network gave him scripted question
President Trump went after CNN over a Florida school shooting survivor’s claim that he didn’t participate in a CNN town hall because the network wouldn’t let him ask his original question and replaced it with a scripted one.
“Just like so much of CNN, Fake News. That’s why their ratings are so bad! MSNBC may be worse,” Trump tweeted Thursday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2018
CNN quickly replied to Trump’s tweet, reiterating its past denial of the student’s account.
“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,” the network tweeted at the president.
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
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 23, 2018
Trump appeared to have been responding to a segment on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” featuring the student, who reiterated his previous claims.
Scripted town hall? Check out part of my interview with a student who claims CNN rewrote and scripted his question. CNN pushed back against the initial claim. Take a listen #Tucker @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/8uDuH6rBIv
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 23, 2018
Colton Haab, a survivor of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school last week, said earlier Thursday that CNN had initially asked him to “write a speech and ask questions” for the town hall but that the event “ended up being all scripted.”
He said his question was about using veterans as armed security guards at schools.
“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.”
CNN disputed Haab’s account.
“There is absolutely no truth to this,” Richard Hudock, CNN’s senior manager of public relations, said in a statement provided to The Hill. “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 has repeatedly attacked CNN and other networks, including MSNBC, since his presidential campaign and into his administration.
Updated: 9:33 p.m.