Trump reacts to John Harwood leaving CNN: ‘People didn’t trust or believe in him’ – Fox News

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Count former President Trump among those not sad to see the departure of CNN White House correspondent John Harwood, whom he called a “polarizing” and “untalented” member of the media.

Harwood, a notably outspoken critic of Trump despite being billed as a straight news reporter, announced Friday he would leave CNN. He gave the impression he was pushed out, tweeting, “Proud of the work… looking forward to figuring out what’s next.”

“He was a third-rate talent who never caught on because people didn’t trust or believe in him,” Trump told Fox News Digital in a statement. “The media needs people who are reliable and truthful in order to save its reputation. There is almost nothing more important than that to happen for our Country. Harwood was polarizing and sadly, very untalented.”

The two were hardly in the mutual admiration society. Harwood called Trump mentally unwell, said the Republican Party under him was “fundamentally broken,” and lambasted Trump’s unfounded claims about the stolen 2020 election. Harwood also consistently ran defense for or outright gushed over the Biden White House, starting from its first day.

Former President Trump called John Harwood a third-rate journalist in reaction to his ouster at CNN.

Former President Trump called John Harwood a third-rate journalist in reaction to his ouster at CNN. (Associated Press)

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On Friday, his last day at CNN after joining in 2020, he praised President Biden’s speech condemning Trumpism and its MAGA supporters and suggested he had no choice but to reject the traditional ideal of journalists not taking sides.

“The core point he made in that political speech about a threat to democracy is true,” Harwood said. “That’s something that’s not easy for us, as journalists, to say. We’re brought up to believe there’s two different political parties with different points of view, and we don’t take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that’s not what we’re talking about. These are not honest disagreements. The Republican Party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue.”

Harwood had essentially admitted he didn’t play it straight with both parties before, praising NBC’s Lester Holt last year after the latter said it was not necessary to “always give two sides equal weight and merit.”

Harwood, who’s also had stints at the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, played a key role in the evolution of the unprecedented vitriol that has developed between the mainstream media and Trump since his political rise began in 2015.

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The two memorably clashed at a CNBC Republican primary debate that year, as Harwood raised eyebrows with acidic remarks directed at Trump and his fellow GOP hopefuls. Harwood asked Trump if he was running a “comic book version of a presidential campaign,” and he said Trump had a better chance of flapping his arms and flying away from the podium than his tax plan not increasing the deficit.

CNBC debate moderators (L-R) John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla asks questions during the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Boulder, Colorado October 28, 2015.

CNBC debate moderators (L-R) John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla asks questions during the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Boulder, Colorado October 28, 2015. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

That and other sharp remarks from Harwood and the ostensibly non-partisan moderator panel caused an eruption at the Republican National Committee and among grassroots conservatives, who called his performance textbook media bias. 

Then-RNC chairman Reince Priebus fumed to Fox News at the time, “Obviously we had assurances that it was going to be straight-up finance, which is what they do every day. And what was delivered was just nothing but a crap sandwich. I guarantee you we’re going to make sure that CNBC isn’t hosting and moderating another debate with our candidates.” The RNC also tore up its partnership with NBC for a future debate that cycle.

Harwood’s reputation was further damaged by the leaking of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, which included Harwood asking Podesta for advice on what to ask Jeb Bush in an interview, criticizing reporters focusing on Clinton’s email server issues when she was “most likely to be [the] next president,” and praising his own questioning of Trump while gushing over then-President Obama’s assessment of the Republican Party.

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After the CNBC debate, Trump mocked Harwood, saying he was “probably finished as a credible reporter,” “not very good at what he does” and a “disgrace” to his network.

Notably, White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain retweeted Norman Ornstein’s expression of sadness at Harwood’s departure on Friday. Ornstein wrote, “This is very sad. [Harwood] represents the best of journalism, besides being a terrific person.”

Puck’s Dylan Byers reported Harwood had two years remaining on his contract.

CNN White house correspondent John Harwood is leaving the network. 

CNN White house correspondent John Harwood is leaving the network.  (Getty Images)

A CNN insider told Fox News Digital last month, in the aftermath of Brian Stelter’s ouster as “Reliable Sources” host, that new CEO Chris Licht was willing to terminate active contracts to make changes at CNN, rather than wait out their expirations.

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Harwood didn’t respond to a request for comment. A CNN spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “We appreciate John’s work covering the White House, and we wish him all the best.” 

Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/media/trump-reacts-john-harwood-leaving-cnn-people-didnt-trust-believe-him

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