Trump stops regular press briefings, citing unfair media treatment
President Trump revealed in a tweet on Jan. 22, 2019, that the lack of regular White House press briefings was the result of directions he gave to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway!” the tweet reads. “Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”
The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the “podium” much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press. I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
Press briefings have become increasingly rare over the past year, The Hill reported, with only one each in November and December. With the last formal press briefing held by Sanders on Dec. 18, 2018, the National Journal reported that this is not only the longest period without a briefing since Trump took office, but the longest since broadcasting of the briefings began in 1955. Trump’s tweet exposes the decline in briefings as a retaliatory measure for press covering Sanders and his administration “rudely” and “inaccurately.”
Though the press briefing has become a tradition, it is not mandated by law. However, White House Correspondents’ Association President Oliver Knox said in a statement, “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.”
The Press Freedom Tracker is following this case as reporting continues.
The Washington Post noted that on April 23, 2019, the Trump White House set a record for the longest time without a formal press briefing — 43 days.
“This breaks the previous record set in March (42 days), which broke the record set in January (41 days),” the Post reported. “Since the beginning of the year, Sanders has had just two briefings, fielding press questions for a mere 30 minutes or so in total.”