In the era of the Trump presidency, the press has turned into paparazzi.
On the holiest day in the Christian calendar, MSNBC reporter Mike Viqueira hounded special counsel Robert Mueller with questions as he was trying to leave his church’s Easter service Sunday morning.
Mueller, who is Episcopalian, was in charge of the long-suffering investigation into President Donald Trump and potential collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russian officials. Last week, Mueller concluded then-candidate Trump did not collude with Moscow.
Eager for more dirt on Trump, Viqueira spotted Mueller and his wife leaving their Washington, D.C., church and began pestering the political celebrity with questions. In response, Mueller said he had “no comment,” but the MSNBC reporter continued.
As Mueller was fumbling with his keys, attempting to unlock his white SUV, Viqueira asked: “If he were anybody but the president, would Mr. Trump be indicted, sir?”
“Sir,” the reporter pressed more, “why didn’t you make a recommendation to Congress one way or the other?”
Mueller, visibly frustrated, remained silent.
“Did the attorney general accurately characterize your positions on conspiracy and obstruction?” Viqueira asked before Mueller nearly slammed his microphone in the door of his vehicle.
Sunday’s confrontation between the MSNBC journalist and Mueller proved to be a perfect picture of how our politics has eclipsed — or perhaps become — our religion.
Even Playboy correspondent Alex Thomas took to Twitter to say, “Maybe we didn’t need to send the paparazzi after Robert Mueller on Easter.”
And he wasn’t the only one frustrated by Viqueira’s stunt. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and actor Patricia Heaton also rebuked the reporter:
Walter Shaub, former director of of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, said he’s “all for posing questions to Mueller, but it looks like he was headed to Easter services. That seems way out of bounds for an ambush interview.”
And Matt Whitlock, senior adviser to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, tweeted, “Accosting Bob Mueller on his way out of Easter Sunday church with his wife is really quite something.”
“Mueller’s Easter was hardly ruined by 30 seconds of questions that he basically ignored. And Viqueira’s questions were certainly responsible — journalistically and ethically,” the Poynter writer concluded.
Ultimately, though, the stunt proved to be quite pointless. Mueller had nothing to say.