Kaitlan Collins asked John Kirby whether he’d seen Donald Trump’s comments about Ukraine – without mentioning the CNN Town Hall, her own role as the moderator or even Donald Trump’s name – a sly plug if ever there was one, and bravo to the network’s new 9 p.m. host for that bit of crafty dodging.
Collins was interviewing Kirby, national security spokesman for the Biden administration, when she danced this masterful side-step Wednesday:
“Just one question on Ukraine before we have another topic for you, John,” Collins said. “I know that you are representing the White House right now and you have to be careful … What was your reaction when you heard the former president and Republican frontrunner last week saying that he couldn’t say if he wanted Ukraine to win this war?”
Then, it was as if an occult hand reached down to Kirby, delivering instructions to also not speak the words “Donald,” “Trump,” “CNN,” “Town” or “Hall.”
“Well, you’re right, Kaitlan,” he replied, acting completely normal and not at all like something weird just happened. “I am not at liberty to get into talking about politics here from the National Security Council, and I certainly won’t get into talk about comments made on campaign trails and in an election season. All I can tell you is that President Biden has been very clear that we want Ukraine to succeed. We want to see them win. We want to see Ukraine whole and free, and prosperous, and fully independent, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Asks Biden Spox About Trump Town Hall Comments – Without Naming Trump https://t.co/Pjs2pAwm6w
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) May 18, 2023
Kirby said plenty of other things about the topic, but did not utter the aforementioned words.
People emerging from beneath rocks would have had no idea that Collins herself had moderated the town hall on CNN last week, drawing praise – and a big promotion – from network CEO Chris Licht, while also weathering withering criticism from literally everyone else.
Collins’ use of passive third person was first reported by Mediaite.