Former White House correspondent: I never heard George H.W. Bush chew out reporters

Former White House correspondent: I never heard George H.W. Bush chew out reporters
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Former ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson on Sunday said that he never heard the late former President George H.W. Bush "chew out" any reporters. 

Donaldson spoke on CNN's "Reliable Sources" about the camaraderie between White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater and the press corps during the elder Bush's time in office, comparing it to the current administration's relationship. 

Bush died over the weekend at 94 years old.

"[Bush] had a press secretary in Marlin Fitzwater who did a great job for him," Donaldson said. "Marlin would come out to the press room, knowing that he had to shuck and jive ... but he didn’t try to insult reporters."


"And I wonder if that would work today with [current White House press secretary] Sarah Sanders — come out and say, 'I’m gonna lie to you but I have to do that, don’t you understand? It’s nothing personal,' " Donaldson added.

CNN's former Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno interjected, saying the time when Bush was in office was marked "by a reservoir of goodwill between Marlin Fitzwater and the president and the press corps around this idea of information." 

Sesno reminisced about when he felt there was "a sense of respect ... that was very, very noticeable the," adding that is "virtually absent now." 

Donaldson said he'd never heard Bush "chew out a reporter," but had once seen Fitzwater scold reporters for skipping a speech by Bush on a day that it was very hot outside. 

The political world has been mourning Bush's passing since Friday, when he died in his Houston home. Bush served as the 41st U.S. President for one term, from 1989 to 1993, and the 43rd Vice President from 1981 to 1989.