Who Is Kaitlan Collins? What We Know About CNN's New Star Journalist (2024)

CNN’s Town Hall with Donald Trump drew plenty of scrutiny and drove significant conversation, but it also put another personality in the spotlight: Kaitlan Collins. The 31-year-old journalist moderated the conversation with Trump and fielded questions from the audience, and often found herself in the line of Trump’s fire when she attempted to fact-check him in real time.

Collins was named one of Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30: Media” in 2019, and she has made Mediate’s Most Influential People in News Media list four times in the last five years. Now 31, she has become one of the most prominent on-air personalities currently at CNN.

Collins is currently the co-anchor of “CNN This Morning” with Poppy Harlow, and formerly with Don Lemon as well. But where else has Collins worked, and what about her previous run-ins with Donald Trump? Here’s a brief cheat sheet to better get to know the media figure.

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Collins First Worked for The Daily Caller

Fresh out of the University of Alabama in 2014, Collins was hired by the online outlet The Daily Caller – co-founded by Tucker Carlson — as an entertainment reporter. She covered the 2016 presidential election extensively, and in 2017 was named the Daily Caller’s White House Correspondent. Later that year, however, she joined CNN’s team covering the presidential race after a run-in with Jeff Zucker.

Collins Was Blocked From the White House After Asking Trump About Putin and Michael Cohen

In July 2018, at a photo opp in the Oval Office, Collins asked then-president Donald Trump about Vladimir Putin and Michael Cohen (“Did Michael Cohen betray you?”). Trump ignored Collins’ questions, but she was then barred from attending a press conference at the White House later that same afternoon.

“They said ‘You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,’” Collins said in an interview at the time. “They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting.” Other journalists who were in the room corroborated Collins’ account that she was not shouting or being disrespectful.

In a statement, CNN disputed the White House’s assertion that Collins’ questions were inappropriate.

“Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of day doesn’t mean the question isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be asked,” the network said. “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”

Fox News even came to Collins’ defense. “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press,” network president Jay Wallace said in a statement at the time.

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Kaitlin Collins’ Past Controversies

Collins has also not been without controversies of her own. A 2015 appearance on Fox News resurfaced as she became a rising star at CNN, in which she included “white replacement theory” talking points when discussing George Soros.

“OK so, George Soros is this foreign-born left-wing guy who essentially wants to change the nature of our country,” Collins told Fox News. “And, in this data dump, one of the memos was about the refugee crisis and it made three points. They think that they’ve been successful in influencing immigration police across the world. They think that the refugee crisis is an opportunity to continue doing so, and they think the refugee crisis is the new normal.”

She also wrote a poorly received listicle of “13 Syrian Refugees We’d Take Immediately” for The Daily Caller in 2015, rounding up Instagram photos of “Syria-sly hot” refugees.

In 2018, Collins publicly apologized for two tweets she posted in 2011 with anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in them, which resurfaced when she was hired by CNN. One tweet read “Idk if I wanna room with a lesbian” and the other used a slur.

When I was in college, I used ignorant language in a few tweets to my friends. It was immature but it doesn’t represent the way I feel at all. I regret it and apologize.

— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 7, 2018

A Promotion at CNN

According to multiple media reports, Collins is expected to take over the network’s 9 p.m. slot on weeknights. The vacant slot hasn’t had a permanent host in over a year, and reports indicate she was offered the spot before the Town Hall.

CNN defended Collins’ performance during the Town Hall despite criticism of her performance.

“Tonight, Kaitlan Collins exemplified what it means to be a world-class journalist,” the network said in a statement. “She asked tough, fair and revealing questions. And she followed up and fact-checked President Trump in real time to arm voters with crucial information about his positions as he enters the 2024 election as the Republican frontrunner. That is CNN’s role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powerful to account.”

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Who Is Kaitlan Collins? What We Know About CNN's New Star Journalist (2024)

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