Donald J. Trump, who popularized the term “fake news” and as president declared the media “enemies of the people,” is again clashing with journalists over press access, this time to his 2024 campaign events. .
An NBC News correspondent said Sunday that Trump aides prevented him from covering an event in New Hampshire, where the former president was expected to make his first in-person comments after Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida dropped out of the race.
Vaughn Hillyard, a longtime NBC News correspondent who regularly covers Trump, had planned to attend as a reporter representing five major television networks. But he told other campaign reporters that Trump’s team was opposed to his presence.
“Your group member was told that if NBC News appointed him, the group would be cut off for the day,” Hillyard wrote in an email to the rest of the group that was obtained by The New York Times. “After stating to the campaign that their pooler would attend the events, NBC News was informed around 2:20 p.m. that the pooler would not be allowed to travel with Trump today.”
Because candidate events often take place in close quarters, campaign journalists have long relied on the so-called pool system, in which a reporter attends on behalf of other news organizations. The television group is made up of ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC, and the networks take turns according to a pre-established schedule. Each network selects the individual journalist assigned to represent the group.
A Trump campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, acknowledged that the network group did not attend the New Hampshire event, but said the Trump campaign does not “exclude journalists based on their reporting.” Cheung said the campaign holds some events without a networking pool and noted that the pool system for presidential candidates is less formal than the system in place to cover the president in the White House.
“We work together when it makes sense for both parties,” Cheung said.
NBC News declined to comment. Later on Sunday, Hillyard was allowed to attend a rally Trump was holding at an opera house in Rochester, New Hampshire.
Sunday’s incident echoed several episodes in Trump’s political career in which he banned journalists from attending events or press conferences. In the 2016 campaign, he banned journalists from The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News from attending some rallies. As president, his administration revoked the press pass of a CNN reporter and banned certain journalists from attending some public events.
Hillyard has irritated Trump before with questions the former president considered impertinent. Last March, during a meeting with reporters aboard his plane, Trump grabbed Hillyard’s phone and asked to be removed. “Get him out of here,” Trump told his assistants, according to an audio published by vanity fair.
On Friday, at a separate event in New Hampshire, Mr. Hillyard pressed repeatedly Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a close Trump ally, about the fact that Trump was found liable in a civil trial for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll.