Earlier this week, 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl revealed to Judy Woodruff that President Donald Trump admitted to her prior to their November 2016 interview — his first after being elected — that he continuously attacks the media in order to delegitimize them.
“I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you,” Stahl said Trump told her.
Stahl’s reveal raised eyebrows across the media world, with many wondering why she waited so long to make Trump’s comments public, specifically since the president has ramped up his attacks on the press while seemingly duplicating that strategy with his broadsides on the intelligence community and Justice Department. During an appearance on HLN’s S.E. Cupp Unfiltered, CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter was asked by host S.E. Cupp why he felt Stahl held onto that juicy bit of info.
“I have a theory — it’s kind of cynical,” Stelter responded. “So let me tell you. Lesley Stahl has the first interview, post-election. Then 60 Minutes doesn’t get an interview for over a year.”
He continued, “They were in negotiations with the White House trying to get Trump to sit down. Obama did a 60 Minutes interview every year. They thought Trump would agree to an interview last fall. I think now it’s 18 months, they’ve given up and maybe they think, ‘So what, we’ll tell what happened.'”
“You think they were hoping to get more access to him?” Cupp pressed Stelter.
“I have to admit it’s only a guess but it’s an educated guess, having covered 60 Minutes and covered this world for a while,” the Reliable Sources host replied. “I think it’s possible that she felt there was no reason at this point not to share what she experienced in that private meeting.”
After Stelter added that he agreed with others who wondered why she waited 18 months to tell this story, Cupp exclaimed that “she’s a journalist” and that the president’s remarks had to raise “red flags” to her since it was “basically chilling to her very existence.”
“You would think so,” Stelter noted, adding that it was “better late than never” that she let the world know what Trump said to her.
Watch the clip above, via HLN.