Reports swirled Monday that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich left an interview with a student reporter at a rally in Greensboro, N.C., over a question he did not want to respond to.
The reporter, Memet Walker, wrote a column in the University of North Carolina’s student paper The Daily Tarheel Monday, claiming Gingrich left the interview before he could even finish the first question.
“That’s why I was so surprised when, before I had finished asking my first question, that same aide cut the interview short and prompted Secret Service to grab and briefly detain me as the former speaker was led away,” Walker wrote in his article.
Walker said he was trying to ask Gingrich a question concerning his comments about Fox News being biased and CNN fairer. Fox CEO Roger Ailes said Gingrich wasn’t coming back to Fox.
“But before I even had a chance on Saturday to relay Ailes’ comments, his aide pressed his hands against me, and several Secret Service agents stopped me in my tracks,” Walker wrote.
Walker said the aide told him, “You’re not asking that. You’re done.”
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News that Gingrich had planned to do a private interview with Walker, but Walker was not compliant after the event.
Hammond said instead of waiting for his turn to interview Gingrich, Walker began shouting questions in the “press gaggle” after the event, when Gingrich’s assistant told Walker he “was done” because he was not working with them.
The campaign says Walker was then held behind the secret service line with the other reporters rather than passing them with the campaign for a private interview. “Gingrich would have been happy to answer the question and have an interview with the student,” Hammond said.
Hammond tweeted to Walker: “Shouting questions as someone leaves a press avail is not abruptly leaving a planed interview. Facts not fiction, kid.”
“Next time, I’ll just follow my instincts and ask about the moon colony,” Walker wrote.