Mike Pence says he will take coronavirus test after aide falls ill

Coronavirus: White House blocks health experts appearing on CNN

Officials can go back on air when CNN covers full press conference

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 09 April 2020 18:39
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The office of Vice President Mike Pence has blocked top health officials from appearing on CNN in retaliation for the network cutting short from the White House's daily coronavirus press conference, the network claims.

"When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air," a representative for Pence reportedly told CNN.

While CNN live broadcasts Donald Trump's question and answer session, which sometimes includes the health care officials, the network will often cut away after the president leaves the podium to discuss and fact-check the latest news.

CNN said it uses that programming format because the full daily press conference can run in "extensive length" over two hours.

"Regardless, Pence's office has declined to make the nation's top health care officials available to CNN for the last seven days," CNN said.

The office of Mr Pence, which is responsible for booking the officials on networks during the pandemic, said it will only allow experts such as Dr Deborah Birx or Dr Anthony Fauci to appear on CNN if the network televises the portion of the White House briefings that include all members of the coronavirus task force.

While health experts like Mr Fauci, Ms Birx, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have not appeared on CNN since last Thursday, the White House has made non-health care officials available in the past week, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Peter Navarro.

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