For once, the news on the Sunday shows isn’t who’s booked to appear but who isn’t. As of Saturday morning, there are no White House surrogates scheduled to defend the Comey firing. Not a one. Zippo. From CNN’s Brian Stelter:
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace saId Friday morning: “We can’t even reach anybody” at the White House — “they’re not available, they’re not answering the phone.”…
When I called around on Friday, sources at several networks confirmed that it’s rather difficult to book pro-Trump voices right now. Some prominent GOPers are dodging interviews. “From Republicans tonight, a very LOUD silence,” Erin Burnett said on CNN. “House Republicans on recess this week are facing angry voters demanding an independent investigation,” Katy Tur said on MSNBC.
This isn’t a matter of Sean Spicer et al. refusing an order from Trump to hit the shows and spin the Comey move, needless to say. This is Trump no longer trusting his own press team to spin effectively for him. It’s no coincidence, as Stelter notes, that Trump himself was booked to do an interview this weekend on Jeanine Pirro’s show. When it comes to defending his administration, he’s now in DIY mode.
Still, he’ll probably designate someone at the last minute, likely Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to make the case for him this morning. Otherwise it’ll be an endless pile-on from critics. Chuck Schumer is set for “Meet the Press” and “State of the Union,” Mark Warner, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Intel Committee, is scheduled for “Fox News Sunday,” and Trump-skeptic Republican Ben Sasse is booked for “Face the Nation.” Gonna be a forfeit unless Team Trump puts some players on the field. And if they don’t, expect the hosts of these shows to make a point of calling viewers’ attention to their absence, feeding the perception among skeptics that even Trump’s own people see the timing of the Comey firing as indefensible. The full line-up is at the AP.