This week, CNN host Brian Stelter worried that a tweet from President Trump could lead to conspiracy theories about his health. Stelter then encouraged people to doubt that the White House would give them accurate information if it turned out that there actually was a problem.
The controversy started on Saturday when Trump mentioned that he recently visited Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
“Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery at the amazing Walter Reed Medical Center,” he began.
The president went on to praise the staff as being “truly some of the best doctors anywhere in the world” and announced that he had started “phase one of my yearly physical.” Trump exclaimed that “everything was very good” and that he would complete the next phase in 2020.
Those reassurances weren’t enough for Stelter.
Warns of “ridiculous conspiracy theories” but says White House lacks credibility
“It is times like these when the White House really needs to have credibility,” he said on an episode of Reliable Sources. “Times like these when the president suddenly turns up at Walter Reed Hospital, sparking concerns about his health and rumors about what’s really going on.”
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham spoke about Trump’s health in glowing terms, stressing that the American people had nothing to worry. Stelter said this was “hopefully that is the case.”
However, he wasn’t convinced, claiming that “the White House squandered much of its credibility at the very beginning of Trump’s tenure and hasn’t regained it by any stretch, so we can’t cover these stories like its business as usual.”
Stelter then argued that “it’s irresponsible to take Trump at his word” since the White House “gives us reasons to distrust [it] every day.” He complained about the Trump administration’s alleged “culture of dishonesty” before having his panel weigh in. Still, he insisted that he “definitely” didn’t want to speculate.
“I know there’s ridiculous conspiracy theories on Twitter that are a bunch of bull,” Stelter pointed out. “We got to hope everything is fine, and maybe everything is fine, but the White House makes it hard to trust.”
“That’s the problem, I think,” he concluded.