Vice President Mike Pence has kept the nation’s top health officials from appearing on CNN since the network stopped carrying the daily coronavirus briefings in their entirety.
The vice president’s office, which is responsible for booking those officials to deliver pandemic information, told CNN that Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci would not be permitted to appear on the network until it carries the briefings, including Pence’s remarks, in full.
“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,” a Pence spokesperson told CNN.
CNN has been broadcasting only President Donald Trump’s question-and-answer portion of the briefings and then cutting away for an immediate fact check, and a network executive explained the decision by saying the events often run longer than two hours.
Fauci, Birx, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have each appeared on other networks in the past week, although broadcast networks have not generally carried the briefings in full.
The vice president’s office blocked all CNN appearances since last week, but the White House has made two non-health care officials — Defense Secretary Mark Esper and trade adviser Peter Navarro — available to the network.