Incoming President Donald Trump says he's dropped the idea of moving the daily White House briefing from the West Wing to accommodate the growing press corps.
“The press went crazy. So I said, ‘Let’s not move it.’ But some people in the press will not be able to get in because there’s just too many … for this small room,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends.”
Incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer later confirmed the decision with Fox News that the briefings will, at least for now, remain in the James Brady briefing room.
The idea of relocating the daily briefing or perhaps moving the press corps to a larger work space started last week when Spicer suggested putting reporters in the White House Conference Center, near Lafayette Square. (Another proposed idea was moving the briefing to the adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building.)
Spicer then told “Fox News’ “Media Buzz” on Sunday that the proposed changes are in response to the “off the chart” demand to cover Trump.
The wealthy businessman and first-time candidate’s unexpected White House victory has become one of the most compelling stories in U.S. political history.
But Trump’s repeated argument that much of the mainstream media are dishonest and provide unfair coverage has led to concerns that he’ll deny access to some reporters and news media outlets.
Spicer said Sunday that thousands of reporters have sought White House credentials for a briefing room that has space for just 49 people and the proposed changes could “involve more people, be more transparent and (provide) more accessibility.”
But within hours of his comments, the White House Correspondents’ Association called for a meeting with Spicer to “get more clarity” on the proposals and ultimately vowed to “fight” limiting reporters’ access.
“The briefing room is open now to all reporters who request access,” said WHCA President Jeff Mason, a White House correspondent for Reuters. “We support that and always will. The WHCA will fight to keep the briefing room and West Wing access to senior administration officials open.”