President Trump may break tradition and skip the pre-Super Bowl interview that historically occurs between the president and the news unit of the network airing the game, according to Variety.
NBC will air Super Bowl LII from Minneapolis on Feb. 4 and Trump doesn’t exactly have the best relationship with the network that used to air his hit reality show, “The Apprentice.” Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” Variety reported that the White House has indicated to NBC News that Trump will not sit down with anyone from NBC News as part of the pre-game show.
Last year, Trump sat down with Bill O’Reilly when the Super Bowl aired on Fox. President Obama had conducted pre-game interviews with a variety of reporters, including CBS’ Gayle King and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. The tradition became a regular event during the Obama administration, but presidents have made sporadic appearances during coverage of the big game dating back to President Reagan sitting down with Tom Brokaw in 1986.
Trump has been extremely critical of both the National Football League and NBC in recent memory. He’s an outspoken opponent of players who kneel during the National Anthem as a form of protest and NBC will keep the cameras rolling on any NFL players who choose to kneel during the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“When you are covering a live event, you are covering what’s happening,” NBC Sports EP Fred Gaudelli said at a Television Critics Association event earlier this month. “If there are players who choose to kneel, they will be shown live.”
NBC’s "Will and Grace" star Debra Messing recently praised her 13-year-old son for refusing to stand for the national anthem when he attended a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, Trump retweeted an image earlier this month appearing to show a grieving military family, in a message to NFL players who “still kneel.”
Trump has also mocked NBC News for various things since entering the world of politics. Back in October he said NBC “gives a lot of fake news” when asked about a report that he wanted to increase the nuclear arsenal. He has also criticized NBC News Chairman Andy Lack and MSNBC star Joe Scarborough on Twitter, while NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” also lampoons Trump on a weekly basis.
Deadline reported that NBC will leave the offer on the table in case Trump changes his mind.
The White House and NBC did not respond to requests for comment.