White House besieged: Trump can’t find any Republicans to defend him on TV

Trump's situation is really bad — and there's no one to defend him on television

By Sophia Tesfaye

Published May 17, 2017 2:45PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The morning after The Washington Post published a blockbuster report alleging President Donald Trump divulged “highly classified” information to top Russian officials, “Fox & Friends” invited the president to call into his favorite morning news show to explain his side of the story. Trump didn’t take Fox News up on its offer.

The White House has appeared to hunker down in the wake of the second explosive report this week. Late Tuesday, The New York Times reported that recently fired FBI chief James Comey wrote a memo that Trump urged him to let go of the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump is the only person from the White House to speak on the record since news of the Comey memo broke.

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But as Trump stood defiant in the face of this week’s challenge to his presidency — telling the Coast Guard Academy all about his travails — his communications team has bunkered down far away from the cameras. Aside from an unsigned statement Tuesday night denying The Times’ report, no officials have spoken publicly about the allegations.

The president’s top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Stephen Miller and Reince Priebus, were absent on television this morning — including Fox News — and are even ignoring Breitbart.

“We have tried tonight to get Republicans to come out and talk to us,” Fox News host Bret Baier said on his show Tuesday evening, “and there are not Republicans willing to go on camera tonight as of yet and we will see if that changes.”

Charlie Rose, the host of “CBS This Morning,” said on Wednesday that the show asked 20 different Republican lawmakers to appear and couldn’t find a single taker.

According to The Hill, White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not take questions from reporters aboard Air Force One Wednesday morning, as scheduled. Spicer delivered his daily press briefing off-camera on Tuesday, after Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster appeared on-camera to claim that Trump’s revelation to the Russians was “wholly appropriate” because he was unaware of the source of the intel, reported to have been Israel.

Now there are signs that more and more Republicans are willing to speak on the record — against Trump.

"Obviously, they are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said of the Trump administration this week.

After Tuesday’s report about the Comey memo, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain said that Trump’s scandals had reached “Watergate size and scale.”

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Donald Trump Fbi John Mccain Russia