Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP)

The past 24 hours have seen the Trump administration bend so far backwards to avoid actually speaking with members of the press that it would make even the most limber Cirque du Soleil performer jealous.

On Wednesday, newly-installed White House Communications Director Bill Shine blocked CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from an press event featuring President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the White House Rose Garden.

“I was blocked from attending an open press event here at the White House, because the White House did not like the questions I posed to President Trump earlier in the day during an event in the Oval Office,” Collins explained to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Shine, for his part, denied Collins had been banned, saying, “Could you ask her if we ever used the word ‘ban’?” as if not saying the word somehow made everything better. Even Shine’s former employer, Fox News, decried the move, telling audiences that it “stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access.”

For what it’s worth, Collins didn’t actually miss much: Trump and Juncker simply issued two brief statements, and took no questions from the assembled reporters. Still, the White House’s petty message came through loud and clear.

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The administration’s pains to avoid press scrutiny got even more insane on Thursday, when the White House cited “bad weather” as the reason he’d be driving—rather taking taking a helicopter—to Joint Base Andrews, where he was set to depart to Iowa this afternoon. There’s just one problem. According to the government’s own forecast, the weather in Washington DC today is “Mostly sunny, with a high near 88.” In other words, a perfectly lovely summer day.

So why drive when it’s a beautiful day to fly? Because, it seems, the president didn’t want to risk walking past reporters who could, you know, ask him questions on his way to the helicopter.

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Folks, this is just getting ridiculous.