Press Access

Trump Directed Press Sec. Sanders ‘Not To Bother’ Holding Daily Briefings

Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Then U.S. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S., October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Trump declared in a tweet that he has told White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to stop holding daily press conferences because the press covers her “rudely and inaccurately,” and that “word gets out anyway.”

The Trump administration has been criticized for the decline in regularly scheduled, formal press briefings. The last on-camera briefing took place on December 18, making this the longest period of time that has passed without a press briefing since the Clinton administration, according to the University of California Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project.

Trump has opted to answer questions from reporters in other settings however, and communicates regularly on Twitter. Both Sarah Sanders and Kellyanne Conway have also answered questions from reporters from around the White House.

White House Correspondents’ Association president Olivier Knox deplored the decline in formal briefings in a statement following Trump’s tweet:

“This retreat from transparency and accountability sets a terrible precedent. Being able to question the press secretary or other senior government officials publicly helps the news media tell Americans what their most powerful representatives are doing in their name. While other avenues exist to obtain information, the robust, public back-and-forth we’ve come to expect in the James A. Brady briefing room helps highlight that no one in a healthy republic is above being questioned.”

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Read more: The End of White House Press Briefings?