New reports reveal that after a March 25 rally in Waco, Texas, former President Donald Trump ended the open access he gave several mainstream media outlets after an NBC reporter refused to end a line of questioning Trump wanted dropped.
A report in Vanity Fair said it obtained the recording of the byplay between Trump and Vaughn Hillyard of NBC. Brian Glenn of Right Side Broadcasting Network, Sophia Cai of Axios, Rob Crilly of the Daily Mail, and Evan Vucci, a photographer with the Associated Press, were also present as Trump conducted what’s known as a press gaggle.
The Washington Post said the gaggle opened with Trump speaking about the event.
“You know, there’s never been anything like it in history. If Ronald Reagan came back from the dead — which would be very nice, actually — or a popular politician, you would have 300, 400 people? Ron DeSanctimonious had 179. So far, that’s been his biggest crowd in Iowa,” Trump said, referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
After Trump’s remarks, Hillyard began his line of questioning, which switched gears and focused on the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation that would later lead to Trump’s indictment.
“They have no evidence. They have no anything,” Trump said. Hillyard continued to ask about the case and then told Trump that the former president “seemed frustrated” with the investigation.
“I’m not frustrated by anything. What am I, frustrated? I just did a speech for two hours. I’m not frustrated by it. It’s a fake investigation. We did nothing wrong — I told you that. … It’s the exact opposite. This is fake news, and NBC is one of the worst at it. Don’t ask me any more questions,” he said.
Trump later told Hillyard, “I heard you’re a nice guy from NBC, but you’re not.”
Hillyard later honed in on footage from the Capitol incursion used at the rally and asked whether violence or the events of Jan. 6 were justified.
“I’m not for violence at all. But a lot of people are upset,” Trump said, noting his position on the fraud-marred 2020 election.
After Hillyard later tried to ask another Manhattan DA-linked question, Trump responded, “I don’t want to talk to you. Do you hear me? You’re not a nice guy,” Vanity Fair reported in its version of the conversation.
Hillyard kept on.
“Let’s go, get him out of here. Outta here! Outta here!” Trump said, before asking which phone on the table where reporters put their phones down to record the session was Hillyard’s.
“Whose is this?” Trump asked as he reportedly picked up a phone.
Hillyard indicated that device belonged to him before Trump picked up a second phone, asking the same question.
“That one’s mine, too,” Hillyard said.
The Vanity Fair report said Hillyard kept trying to ask a question until a campaign aide said, “Vaughn, we’re done.”
Trump tossed Hillyard’s phones from the table. Moments later, the press gaggle ended.
Although Vanity Fair claimed in its report that “the Trump campaign appears to have reduced mainstream press access as a result of what happened on the plane back from Waco,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said that was not so.
“We extended invites to four other mainstream reporters/outlets, and they all said they could not due to either [White House Correspondents’ Dinner] events that week or because their editors refused. But we’ve had a ton of media requests to ride on Trump Force One to the upcoming Iowa rally, and we will do our due diligence on who to bring,” he said via email.
Trump’s interaction with the media contrasts with the 2022 visit by then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson when White House aides “aggressively” interrupted media questioning, the Telegraph noted.
The mainstream media has forged ties with the Biden White House, as noted by the Voice of America when it recounted that at a recent press event, Biden had a card preparing him for the very first question from the media.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.