Three top cable news networks cut away from Trump speech

The three top cable news networks all cut away from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE's speech in Ohio on Wednesday before it ended, prompting complaints from the White House.

The speech was set to focus on infrastructure but saw the president go off script to touch on other topics.

It started just after 2 p.m, but within 30 minutes of Trump taking the stage CNN and MSNBC cut away to discussions with analysts and to report other news. Fox News remained on the speech for about ten minutes longer, according to social media reports, before cutting away also.

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Fox Business Network, which was also covering the speech, stayed with Trump for the duration of his remarks.

The decisions to cut away from Trump's speech were criticized by some in the White House, including special assistant to the president Steven Cheung. Cheung tweeted a screenshot of the four networks side-by-side showing just Fox News and Fox Business Network remaining on the speech.

"So @realDonaldTrump is giving an important speech to the American people. Guess who is refusing to take the entire speech live..." Cheung tweeted.

The tweet prompted a response from CNN reporter Jeff Zeleny, who tweeted at Cheung,"Fox? They dumped out about 10 min ago...."

News networks were frequently criticized during the 2016 election for airing Trump's speeches largely in full. Some critics said covering Trump's rallies in full gave him an advantage in securing the GOP nomination. CNN President Jeff Zucker in October of 2017 called the decision to air Trump's campaign speeches in full a "mistake."

“If we made any mistake last year, it’s that we probably did put too many of his campaign rallies in those early months and let them run,” Jeff Zucker said at Harvard Kennedy School last year. “Listen, because you never knew what he would say, there was an attraction to put those on the air.”

Zucker added at the time that covering Trump rallies, and the president's often explosive comments, proved to be a ratings boost for the news network.

“Trump delivered on PR, he delivered on big ratings,” Zucker said.