Chris Cuomo: Trump Has Desire For "Absolute Power"


CNN New Day host Chris Cuomo talked about the Trump White House's "desire for absolute power" in a panel Wednesday morning featuring CNN's Chris Cillizza and Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem, who has received new-found fame after his exchange with White House deputy spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at Tuesday's press briefing.

CUOMO: Which because once again, it's if I don't acknowledge it, it doesn't exist. That is a signature Trump move that we've seen him do to great effect here in New York for a very long time. And let's be honest, it's working for him at this level as well.

But at the end of the day, we've been here before, my brothers. You know, it is not new for the White House to be inimical to the media. But we have not seen, at least in my experience, and please weigh otherwise, starting with you, Chris, is, his is a de facto declaration of making the media an enemy of the state. That is what this effort winds up amounting to, that is not just Cillizza, it's not just Cuomo, it's just not one story, it's all of them all the time, they're all fake, don't trust them, only trust us.

That is saying that this unique and beautiful dynamic that we have in this country, this messy thing called democracy needs to change and in favor of this White House and it's almost a desire for absolute power when it comes to reckoning the truth. That is new.

Watch the full panel:

More transcript where Cuomo asked Karem if he is afraid the administration will strip him of his White House pass:

CUOMO: Yes, you're right, Chris. You're right. There's certainly a conflation and we know why.

Every time the president hears the words Russian interference, he hears bad for Trump. That's why he denied it so long in the face of such obvious facts. That's why he doesn't want to take it on in the way some in his administration the way some would like him to do. There are obvious incentives there for him. We get it in his own mind.

But, Brian --


CUOMO: -- what I want to hear your head is on is this fundamental proposition, which is, look, just because they don't like it doesn't mean it's untrue. That has become the standard what's untrue is only what people want to believe.

KAREM: Well, there is -- yes, there are people who are confined to

their philosophical cul-de-sac and they're going to believe what they're going to believe no matter what the facts tell them. But in all honesty and to be fair to the White House, in the interest of fairness, Sean Spicer and his staff have done things to make that White House a little more transparent. They have brought in cabinet members. They do conduct briefings. They have introduced the Skype component so people outside of the beltway can ask questions.

So, all of that is supportive of the First Amendment. But I feel there is a great incongruity between what the press staff would like to do and what the president would like to do. And I could be wrong because I don't know. But the fact of the matter is, there is a constant reinforcement from the administration as to what they believe versus what facts show.

So, you're absolutely right. It's a huge concern.

CUOMO: Any concern on your part that they're going to pull your credentials?

KAREM: I've been asked that. I don't know. I guess if they do I will be here or I'll be somewhere.

CUOMO: You've got a home right here, Brian. We always like people who want to speak truth to power on this show.

Fahrenthold, let me ask you something, because we're going to have another example in real time of how this dynamic goes too often. So, in one of the clubhouses of one of Trump golf clubs, they have "TIME" covers on the wall that is not a real "TIME" magazine cover. So, the magazine finds this out, they say, take it down, you find this out, you report on it.

What is the reality of the situation? And how is it being treated at the White House? Because I've got to tell you, all their friends on social media are attacking this understandably so from their perspective as fake. What could be fake about this other than the cover itself?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, there's nothing fake about it. We've gone a lot of lengths to document how many clubhouses this was in. I found it in five clubhouses at least so far. Yes, it's an a "TIME" magazine cover from March 2009. It's all about Donald Trump and they hung it up in all these places. It's faked. It never happened. It's not based on anything in reality.

So, we asked the White House and the Trump organization, where did this come from? Who made it? Did President Trump know it was fake? And basically got no answers from them. The only answer we got back was from Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, we won't comment on the decor of the Trump Organization's clubs.


KAREM: I'm sorry. Whenever it's something they don't want to talk about, I can't tell you the number of times I've been told, we can't talk about that. We'll defer that to this. We can't talk about that. We'll defer to that. We're not going to discuss decorum (ph).

If it's something that is as you pointed out earlier, if it's something detrimental to the administration, they're very quick not to comment or to minimize it. Whereas, if it's something that's very -- like I said earlier, that's typical of most folks when you try to put the best face forward. What's different about it is, they should at least address the issue. If you're going to accuse us of being fake media, and you put up a fake media cover, the hypocrisy of that alone is going to make it, you know, a topic on, I don't know, every stand- up comedian's circuit in the country and probably overnight shows.

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