US President Donald Trump has said that it is a “good idea” to abolish the daily White House briefing, a viewpoint which has been opposed by the White House Correspondents’ Association. “Unless I have them every two weeks and do it myself, we won’t have them. I think it’s a good idea,” Trump told Fox News in an interview. He was responding to questions on his early morning tweets in which he had mooted the idea of doing away with the daily press conference, a decades old tradition at the White House.
Describing himself as a very active President, Trump explained that at times it becomes very difficult for his surrogates to explain things with perfect accuracy to reporters at the news conference.
“As a very active president with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!…. ,” Trump said in a series of tweets as he defended his spokespersons, who in the past few days have been seen quite often contradicting multiple times.
“Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???” Trump said in another tweet to his more than 28.8 million followers on this popular social media site.
During the interview, Trump said there’s an “incredible” level of hostility from reporters toward Press Secretary Sean Spicer and his deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. He conceded that his press staff are not able to keep up the fast pace at which he is working.
The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) has objected to any such move. “Doing away with briefings would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the US system, no political figure is above being questioned,” Jeff Mason, WHCA president said in a statement.
“The White House Correspondents’ Association would object to any move that would threaten those constitutionally-protected principles,” said Mason, White House Correspondent for Reuters news agency.
White House briefings and press conferences provide substantive and symbolic opportunities for journalists to pose questions to officials at the highest levels of the US government, he said. “That exercise, conducted in full view of our republic’s citizens, is clearly in line with the spirit of the First Amendment,” Mason said.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump is considering shake up in his press team. “President Donald Trump is considering making changes to his communications team, which he blames for failing to contain the controversy surrounding his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, according to multiple administration officials,” the journal reported.