Wednesday 24 April 2019

Bertie Ahern wasn't the first politician to walk out of an interview... Here are more famous examples

Bertie Ahern pictured during the TV interview
Bertie Ahern pictured during the TV interview
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been making headlines for walking out of a German television interview.

Mr Ahern took exception to being asked questions about the Mahon Tribunal report and Ireland’s economic crash.

He had agreed to sit down with journalist Tim Sebastian on a programme called 'Conflict Zone' to discuss the Good Friday Agreement. But when Mr Sebastian quizzed the ex-Fianna Fáil leader on his "own mixed fortunes" in the years since the peace deal, Mr Ahern removed his microphone and ended the interview.

Mr Ahern is not the first politician to stage a walk-out though. Here are five other recent examples:

Enda Kenny

In 2012, then Taoiseach Enda Kenny famously tripped over a flower pot as he attempted to dodge questions on whether he supported same-sex marriage. Mr Kenny, who would later back the marriage equality referendum, was far less sure footed on the issue at the time.

The incident resulted in Mr Kenny’s handlers making a complaint to TV3 about journalist Ursula Halligan’s pursuit of his opinion.

Witnesses were clear that Ms Halligan never laid a finger on the Taoiseach, although she got bumped out of the way by one of his aides. The complaint came to nothing.

Jack O’Connor

Former SIPTU chief Jack O’Connor made a quick exit from the ‘Tonight With Vincent Browne’ on TV3 in 2013 after a heated exchange with the presenter.

O’Connor, who is now an election candidate for the Labour Party in Wicklow, was on the programme to discuss strike action at Dunnes Stores.

The conversation shifted to the employment situation at TV3 itself and the claim that management refused to recognise their employees’ right to “collective bargaining.”

Mr O’Connor also appeared to take exception when Browne questioned him about his support for the Labour Party.

He began to move his microphone and moments later left the set.

“Okay good luck Jack. Quite a stunt isn’t it. Well done Jack, It’s impressive isn’t it?” Mr Browne said.

O’Connor later denied it was stunt. “I didn’t go on with the intention of doing a walk-off,” he said.

Donald Trump

Shortly after becoming US President Donald Trump abruptly ended an Oval Office interview with CBS’s John Dickerson. “That’s enough,” stated the president before walking away.

The tense moment evolved when Dickerson asked Trump if his predecessor had given him any advice before taking office. Trump said Barack Obama had been "very nice" at the start, but since there had been "difficulties."

Asked whether he stood by calling Obama “sick and bad”, Mr Trump told the reporter he could “take it the way you want”.

Dickerson continued, saying he wanted Trump’s opinions because he's the president and didn't want it to be "fake news", Trump waved his hand and said: “OK, that's enough. Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Ruth Davison

The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party walked out of a Channel 4 interview last year after being questioned about the DUP’s view of gay rights.

Ms Davidson was asked what she thought of Prime Minister Theresa May relying on a party with the DUP’s record on LGBT rights to sustain her government.

Initially she insisted LGBT right would not be an issue, saying Mrs May gave assurances that the deal with the Northern Ireland party “would not result in any roll-back of LGBT rights in the rest of the UK”.

But when reporter Ciaran Jenkins tried to ask a follow up question, Ms Davidson turned and walked away.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated an interview on an Australian television show after being asked his view on Donald Trump.

At one stage in the interview on ‘Sunrise’, host Angela Cox asked the movie star about his failed marriage to Maria Shriver. In 2011, it was revealed that he had fathered a child with the couple’s housekeeper.

He refused to answer the question. Later Ms Cox moved onto politics, leading Schwarzenegger to say: “This is an interview that I only do about fitness and health, not about politics or my relationships.”

The Republican politician’s team claimed afterwards that he didn’t storm out of the interview, but rather that the interviewer had surpassed her allotted time.

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