Last Wednesday’s press conference where President-elect Donald Trump took shots at various media members and outlets may have been a preview of the incoming administration.
Three senior officials on Trump’s transition team tell Esquire that there is “serious consideration” to continue with a plan to “evict the press corps from the White House.” If this plan is pushed and successfully executed, media members covering the incoming president will be relocated to the White House Conference Center or a yet-to-be-determined space in the next door Old Executive Office Building.
Press members have covered sitting presidents from the White House for several decades, so this would be a deviation from the norm. But Trump and his people have shown a penchant for deviating from the norm; Trump uses Twitter as his main source of communication, refuses to release his tax returns despite the fact every president since and just last week, longtime inauguration announcer Charlie Brotman, 89, was replaced last week after being the announcer for every incoming president since Dwight Eisenhower.
Trump, who is set to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States this Friday, silenced CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday, refusing to answer a question, telling be to “be quiet” while dubbing his outlet as “fake news.” Also, in response to Buzzfeed running with an unconfirmed report that alleged Trump hired prostitutes in Russia to urinate in a hotel room once occupied by President Barack Obama, prompted Trump to call the outlet a “failing pile of garbage.”
Esquire‘s report, quoting officials within Trump’s team, cites several reasons behind the proposed switch. The most direct response came from a senior official who views the press — much like Trump — in a dishonest light and tells Esquire they are not doing their job properly.
“They are the opposition party. I want ’em out of the building. We are taking back the press room.”
Another factor is logistics; Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer explained that interest in covering the president-elect is so high, all media request cannot be fulfilled. He mentioned that thousands of request to attend Wednesday’s presser came in, but only 400 could be approved.
The idea of moving the press from the White House to a different location would be a method of allowing more press to cover Trump.
“A question is: Is a room that has forty-nine seats adequate?” Spicer said. “Is there an opportunity to potentially allow more members of the media to be part of this? That’s something we’re discussing.”
Going by Trump’s attitude towards certain members of the press, the former appears to be the likely reason for the possible change in protocol of handling media. However, despite some of his actions and choice words toward the press, Trump did acknowledge at Wednesday’s press conference how certain outlets’ coverage of Buzzfeed’s initial “disgraceful” story increased his respect.
“I have great respect for the news and great respect for freedom of the press and all of that,” Trump said. “But I will tell you, there were some news organizations with all that was just said that were so professional — so incredibly professional, that I’ve just gone up a notch as to what I think of you. OK?”
Despite that statement, it was clear that Trump’s overall demeanor towards the press was not changed.
With less than a week remaining in the current Obama Administration, a change is coming to the United States and those who cover the news surrounding that change may have an additional obstacle in their way after January 20.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]