NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard was denied access by Donald Trump's campaign team to accompany the former president on his campaign trail in New Hampshire. This decision effectively barred Hillyard from acting as the designated pool reporter for the day's events.
This unexpected turn of events was first reported in a pool report obtained by Deadline. The report detailed that the decision was communicated to NBC News around 2:20 p.m. ET, following the confirmation that Hillyard would be in attendance.
The Trump campaign's abrupt refusal to allow Hillyard to travel with Trump has raised eyebrows, especially considering the usual norms of campaign reporting. Sources close to the situation believe that the campaign's decision was influenced by Hillyard's recent questioning of Rep.
Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a prominent Trump supporter. The line of inquiry in question pertained to the high-profile E. Jean Carroll case. Last year, a jury found Trump liable for sexual assault against Carroll and for subsequently defaming her.
The current ongoing trial in New York is primarily centered on determining additional damages.
Stefanik Confronts Media
Hillyard's pointed question to Stefanik, "Do you believe E. Jean Carroll?" seemingly struck a nerve. Stefanik responded with criticism of the media, labeling the accusations against Trump as "witch hunts" and accusing the media of being biased and out of touch with the American public.
She asserted that, much like in 2016, the public would express their support for Trump through their votes, dismissing the media’s portrayal of the situation.
The incident, initially brought to light by Puck, underscores the tense relationship between the Trump campaign and certain media outlets.
"Do you believe E. Jean Carroll?" @VaughnHillyard asks Elise Stefanik.
Stefanik: "No, of course not… The media is so biased.
This is just another example of the media being out of touch."
Vaughn: "It’s not the media, it's a jury that found he sexually abused E. Jean Carroll." pic.twitter.com/8UIZCSmkUj — Kate Sullivan (@KateSullivanDC) January 20, 2024
NBC News, when approached for a comment on this matter, did not receive an immediate response from the Trump campaign. This unfolding story highlights the complex dynamics between political campaigns and the media, especially in an era where the freedom of the press and the role of journalists are under intense scrutiny.
The decision to restrict Hillyard's access may have broader implications for how media coverage is conducted and perceived in the highly charged political landscape of today's United States.