The mainstream media widely praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she requested that President Trump delay his annual State of the Union address, but Trump's move to stop a Pelosi-led overseas trip amid the government shutdown was mostly frowned upon – showcasing the media’s double standard.
MSNBC and CNN featured pundits fawning over Pelosi for urging the president to delay his delivery until the government re-opens, or deliver the address in writing. Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon even parroted each other, both declaring that the House Speaker was “flexing her muscle” with the move.
ABC News’ Mary Bruce called it a “bold power play,” and CNN’s John Avlon boosted about her “PHD in needling President Trump.” Pelosi was also called a “political genius,” “badass” and she was celebrated for pulling a “power move.”
But on Thursday, Trump abruptly denied military aircraft for a Democrat-delegation foreign trip just minutes before Pelosi and the congressional delegation was set to depart. One White House official claimed the aircraft decision was not a "response" to Pelosi's letter – but the same media that praised the House Speaker’s genius condemned the president’s decision.
CNN’s Jim Acosta called the move “childish,” Brooke Baldwin mocked the move, Jake Tapper said that “nobody who has ever traveled with the congressional delegation would think that is funny or appropriate or cool” and MSNBC’s Sam Stein said it was a “classic example of Trump kind of overreacting,”
“What Trump has done today [is] tactically inept, strategically nitwitted,” MSNBC’s John Heilemann said.
CNN’s Oliver Darcy took to Twitter to after Trump canceled Pelosi’s trip, calling the move “red meat” for his base. TheWrap’s media watchdog Jon Levine pointed out the hypocrisy by sharing a CNN article calling Pelosi’s letter a “major power move” and asking, “How come it’s not a power move?”
CNN’s Chris Cillizza – who bylined the piece admiring Pelosi’s move – tweeted that Trump was “taking the low road,” and added, “Always.” Cillizza’s double standard was quickly mocked across social media.
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor told Fox News that journalists have become like “Old Faithful” after two years of the Trump presidency.
“Any time the president does anything, they spout off. But if his opponents do it, they automatically support their ‘badass’ approach,” Gainor said. “Much like Old Faithful, those same journalists are all wet. They can’t stand that Trump one-upped the media’s new champion – House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.”
Gainor noted that some reporters could be upset about Trump’s decision for personal reasons, too.
“He also cancelled a road trip for many in the press who would have accompanied her. So instead of an exciting trip, they are stranded in snowy D.C. That just gives an added reason for journos to be mad at the president,” he said.
Meanwhile, political pundit Stephen Miller pointed out that numerous journalists simply repeated a talking point that Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill came up with – which condemned Trump for canceling the House Speaker’s trip when the president visited Iraq amid the shutdown.
Within minutes of Hammill making that specific point on Twitter, it was echoed by a variety of journalists.
“Trump is the commander of the United States military. You guys should probably all shop a different talking point from Pelosi’s office,” Miller wrote.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, John Roberts and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.