FILE – In this March 6, 2018, file photo, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway attends a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Conway on Sunday, June 17, 2018, distanced the Trump administration from responsibility for separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, even though the administration put in place and could easily end a policy that has led to a spike in cases of split and distraught families. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
CBS News‘ White House reporter Paula Reid is making quite a name for herself due to her disrespectful behavior at President Trump’s daily task force briefings.
On Wednesday, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the President, held an informal press conference on the White House lawn. First, Reid asked Conway if they’ve given any thought to diversifying the President’s Council on reopening the country, which she noted was predominantly a group of very wealthy, white men?
Kelly told her, “We don’t pick who the heads of the Sports Commissions, Leagues and CEOs of companies are who want to help.”
It’s difficult to hear Reid’s question due to the noise of traffic. Reid says, “But you do pick the Council and you could pick small businesses (inaudible)?”
Conway looks at Reid and says:
Paula, I actually don’t know what’s happened to you, respectfully, I don’t know why you’ve changed…and you’re in the briefing room screaming at Anthony Fauci and the President of the United States.
I frankly think it’s unbecoming, but that aside, I’ll answer the question about how they’re going to help America which is why I’m here. I think you’re here for a different reason it seems these days.
Well done, Kellyanne.
“Paula, I actually don’t know what’s happened to you, respectfully, I don’t know why you’ve changed…
and you’re in the briefing room screaming at Anthony Fauci and the president of the United States." pic.twitter.com/Uvmftm5BaO
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 16, 2020
We all know the main objective of most reporters in the White House press pool is to bait the President into making an inflammatory statement that they can rush off and broadcast to the world. On a more personal level, they strive to appear as savvy and bold as possible in the presence of their peers and for everyone else they know will see it.
Reid was especially full of herself at a March White House briefing. She was clearly out to ambush the President.
Slipping into her best ‘I’m a woman of the world, watch how ballsy I am when I confront the President persona’, with index finger pointing, Reid asked President Trump, “Mr. President, you tweeted earlier linking the closing of the country to your election success in November.” (A slight smile crosses her face and she looks directly at the President, index finger still pointing.) “Is this Easter timeline based on your political interests, because…”
Trump asks, “What do you mean by election success?”
Reid continues, “You tweeted. You said that the media wants the country to remain closed to hurt your odds of being reelected.”
The President says, “The media would like to see me do poorly in the election. I think.”
Reid cuts him off, “Sir, lawmakers and economists on both sides of the aisle have said that reopening the economy by Easter is not a good idea. What is that plan based on?”
Trump’s annoyance becomes clear from the change in his tone of voice. He replies, “Just so you understand. Are you ready? I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly. I think there are certain people that would like it to do financially poorly because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls. And I don’t know if that’s so, but I do think it’s so that there are people in your profession that would like that to happen. I think it’s very clear.”
Reid interrupts to say, “But your own medical experts did not endorse that plan yesterday.”
He talks over her. “I think it’s very clear that there are people in your profession that write fake news. You do. She does. There are people in your profession that write fake news.”
“I think it’s very clear that there are people in your profession that write fake news. You do,” President Trump says to CBS News’ @PaulaReidCBS during the White House coronavirus task force update https://t.co/jDTU91Xjk4 pic.twitter.com/mNTGL4IjOZ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 25, 2020
Earlier this month, Reid played a role in an adult version of “Mean Girls” in the White House Briefing Room.
Several mainstream media reporters had been ganging up on One America News Network (OANN) reporter Chanel Rion at the daily briefings. OANN is a fairly new conservative outlet that provides mostly positive coverage of President Trump.
The situation began to escalate at the end of March. One day, Reid noticed that Rion was standing in the back of the briefing room, which was a violation of the White House Correspondents Association’s (WHCA) “social distancing” guidelines. So, she notified the WHCA and a representative asked Rion to leave. Rion refused, according to the tweet below, saying she was a guest of White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) April 1, 2020
The next day, every major newspaper had an article about Rion. The headline in The Washington Post read, “OANN threatened with removal from White House press room after correspondent Chanel Rion makes unauthorized appearances” and it can be viewed here.
Reid also had a memorable run-in with Attorney General William Barr during a press conference held the morning the Mueller report was released in April 2019. Reid first pointed out that Barr’s comments were “quite generous to the President and his feelings and emotions. It just seems like there is a lot of effort – to go out of your way to acknowledge how this was difficult for him.”
Reid definitely had a bit of an edge in her voice and Barr immediately responded in kind.
Barr replied, “I’m not sure what your basis is for saying I’m being generous to the President.”
She then questioned Barr about his use of the word “unprecedented.”
Barr asked, “Is there another precedent for it?”
She answered, “No.”
He then responded, “OK, so unprecedented is an accurate description.”
Reid then began to ask him if he was concerned that some might feel he was “trying to protect the President.”
Barr ignored her and went on to the next question.
Barr: "I'm not sure what your basis is for saying I'm being generous to the President."
A reporter then brings up his use of the word "unprecedented."
"Is there another precedent for it," Barr asks.
"No," the reporter answers.
"OK so unprecedented is an accurate description." pic.twitter.com/5Mkso4BOCR
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 18, 2019