Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief political correspondent, has not been pulling his punches since President Donald Trump and his aides took the White House. With his sharp retorts, to-the-point fact checks and cutting humor, the reporter has emerged as something of a champion for a news media – and a certain idea of truth – that’s been assaulted by the new administration. Here’s a collection of his greatest hits standing up to the Washington, D.C. powers-that-be, including Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and Sean Spicer.
1. Kellyanne Conway
Conway, a senior aide to the president and his former campaign adviser, has been one of the new leader’s most committed defenders, spinning and dismissing criticism of his more outlandish statements. After the administration accused the media of refusing to cover terrorist attacks, and Trump specifically referring to CNN as “fake news,” Tapper held Conway’s feet to the fire about her boss’s allegations. “There’s a larger campaign being waged by President Trump and the White House to undermine the credibility of everyone in the media except certain supportive outlets,” he said in his exchange with Conway. “Facts are stubborn things, and to say that we’re not reporting something that happens not to be true, therefore we’re not to be trusted, that’s a problem.”
2. Sean Spicer
Tapper fact-checked Press Secretary Spicer’s claim last week that the media invented the term “ban” to describe the president’s executive orders on immigration and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. He pointed out that Trump himself had referred to the actions as a ban in a Twitter post. Spicer too, he observed, described the administration’s move as a ban in two instances — including in an appearance the night before he berated the media for calling it a “ban.”
3. Steve Bannon
Tapper had a succinct response to Bannon’s demand in January that the media “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” No. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News and now the chief White House strategist, made the remarks in an interview with The New York Times.
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.