Smackdown! Jake Tapper Says 'Morale' at CNN 'Hasn't Been Better in Years' After Chris Licht Firing

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Jul. 10 2023, Published 5:00 p.m. ET

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Jake Tapper weighed in on how Chris Licht's exit has affected the network.

Though he admitted he was "bummed" to see Licht go, he believes CNN may be better off without him.

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"I’m not here to judge whether the firing was the right thing to do. I’m bummed that it didn’t work out with Chris. I am. I’m bummed that it didn’t work out. But I will say that things are really good right now," the 54-year-old said on Kara Swisher’s podcast "On with Kara Swisher."

"And this leadership team, I will say right now, I am highly biased. I have known David Levy since the ’90s, and I knew Amy Entelis and Virginia Mosely when I interviewed for a job at ABC News in 2003, and I’ve known Eric Sherling when he was at [Good Morning America] and then he helped me launch The Lead. Those four individuals are people whom I legitimately love and respect and admire and have been out for meals with just for fun, not just for work," he continued. "So, you know, take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. I think they’re doing a great job and the focus is back our journalism, not on palace intrigue and not on media criticism. And morale hasn’t been better in years."

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As OK! previously reported, Licht, 51, was plagued with numerous scandals, controversy and backlash, resulting in him likely being pushed out.

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"For a number of reasons things didn’t work out, and that’s unfortunate," David Zaslav revealed, according to a recording of his announcement obtained by a news publication. "It’s really unfortunate, and ultimately that’s on me. And I take full responsibility for that."

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Though Licht wasn't beloved by many, Tapper still defended his time at CNN.

"I will say that I’ve known Chris for a long time. I’ve known him since he was at CBS News. And I was very excited when he came [to CNN] because I thought that he would be good. At that point [Jeff] Zucker had already left, and I adored Jeff, and I would like for Jeff not to have left, but he did. So I was in a new reality and the reality was, well, who are they gonna pick? And I’d heard a lot of names, some of whom I knew, some of whom I knew by reputation, and Chris was, without question, the best name I heard. And I was excited about it," he shared.


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