comScore Morgan Ortagus Mutes Bolton Question in Call on Press Freedom

State Department Mutes Reporter’s Bolton Question During Briefing Call About Supporting Press Freedom

National Security Advisor John R. Bolton listens while US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before a meeting with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Oval Office of the White House on May 13, 2019, in Washington, DC.

Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski, AFP via Getty Images.

A State Department spokesperson muted the question of a reporter who began to bring up former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton’s critiques of the administration during a briefing call about the principle of supporting press freedom.

Per a report by Politico, State Department Morgan Ortagus quickly shut down a question from Reuters reporter David Brunnstrom about the blowback from U.S. allies about Bolton’s shocking revelations, saying: “That’s not what this call is about.” When Brunnstrom refused to stop his question, Ortagus commanded the call administrator silence him: “AT&T, we can mute that line.”

Instead, Ortagus wanted the call to focus on why the administration was extolling press freedom by designating four Chinese media sites as foreign agents.

The Trump State Department has developed a reputation as having a highly adversarial approach to the press under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has insulted, blacklisted, and attacked reporters who ask him questions that he deems inappropriate or excessively critical.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under: