Meadows criticizes veteran journalist Lesley Stahl as an ‘opinion journalist’
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday criticized veteran CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl as an “opinion journalist” and denied that President Trump “walked out” of his taped interview for “60 Minutes” on Tuesday.
Meadows, speaking on Fox Business, also indicated as Trump did on Tuesday that the White House may release video of the interview before it airs on “60 Minutes” Sunday, despite the network saying that the White House agreed that they would tape the interview “for archival purposes only.”
“He didn’t walk out. The characterization of that — he spent over 45 minutes with Lesley Stahl. I’ve looked at every single minute of the interview and then some. We have tape of every single minute,” Meadows told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.
“Listen, when you have a ’60 Minutes’ reporter, they should be a reporter not an opinion journalist. And she came across more like an opinion journalist than a real reporter,” Meadows continued, adding that he believed the “American people will be able to see it.”
Trump expressed anger at Stahl after taping the interview for “60 Minutes” on Tuesday afternoon and threatened in a tweet to release the interview himself. CBS News said that Trump cut the interview short, a detail that Meadows did not explicitly deny on Tuesday.
CNN reported that Trump sat down with Stahl for 45 minutes and abruptly ended it without participating in a planned appearance with Vice President Pence.
It is unclear why the interview so incensed the president. Following its conclusion, Trump tweeted out a clip of Stahl, claiming it showed her not wearing a mask in the White House after the interview. A CBS official said that Stahl wore a mask as she entered the White House and leading up to the time of the interview and that the image Trump tweeted was taken immediately following the interview as she spoke with her producers.
Stahl is a veteran of CBS News who has worked for “60 Minutes” since 1991. Stahl interviewed Trump in 2016 and 2018, the latter her most recent with the president during which she pressed him on a variety of fronts.
Trump and his allies regularly accuse the press of bias in their coverage of the president and his administration. Trump often denies coverage that is critical as “fake news,” a phrase that has become a rallying cry of sorts for his base.
“60 Minutes” will air duel interviews of Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is being interviewed by correspondent Norah O’Donnell, on Sunday, at which point there will be just over a week before Election Day. Trump is currently trailing Biden nationally and in swing state polling.