Ari Fleischer urges Trump to scale back on daily press briefings: 'It's a game of gotcha'

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The White House should look to other forms of communication instead of the daily coronavirus briefings for President Trump to share his message with the American people, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer urged Tuesday.

In an interview on "America's Newsroom" with host Sandra Smith, the Fox News contributor said that while he doesn't disagree with current White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany's belief that the briefings are a "great opportunity" for Trump to speak directly to the American people, it doesn't mean they have to hold a conference daily.

"Those things can also be valid -- actually they can become even more valid if the president is out there three days a week or two days a week," he remarked.


"The fact of the matter, Sandra, is there is nothing more pressurized and more just unbalanced than that White House briefing room. And, anybody who steps into it, steps into it at their own peril," he explained. "And, it's unique. They don't treat the president the way governors are treated. It's a game of 'gotcha' in that room for many of the questions -- not all, but many. And, it doesn't serve the press. It doesn't always serve of the president. So, I would pare it back and reduce the duration."

"When the president's there he just attracts reporters who want to play 'gotcha' in addition to the ones with regular questions," Fleischer added. "So, you can have those health-related questions get asked and answered in a different venue."

A potential solution for the administration, Fleischer pointed out, would come with the increased ability to travel.

"He can't go to the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens right now and put his arms around the emergency room doctors. He can't visit nurses. There [are] a lot of things I wish he could travel and do that [are] hard for him to do because of social distancing. So, once he can travel, I think that would be a great way to substitute for those briefings," he noted.


"And, this is what presidents do. They go to the front lines. They go and they thank the nurses. They thank the doctors. They thank the people who are helping us recover," Fleischer stated further. "And he is limited in his ability to do that now because of the imposition it would put on the people who he is visiting, the social distancing protocols, et cetera. But, increasingly, it can and should be done and that's a tool the White House should employ."

"So, there are other tools he could use to communicate and I would recommend they do so," Fleischer concluded.