On Friday, the Donald Trump White House barred several media organizations that have published stories critical of Trump from an official press briefing. On Monday, the press conference ban hit another group — Democratic governors, who were at the White House to attend a meeting with Trump, followed by a question-and-answer session with the press outside the West Wing.
Post-POTUS/NGA press avail at the White House used to be a bipartisan thing. Now it's just GOP governors
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 27, 2017
The White House gave no reason for why the Democratic governors were banned from attending the press conference Monday morning.
— vicsflick (@vicsflick) February 27, 2017
Governors from around the country attended an annual conference Monday — a conference that has always previously included a visit with the president, followed by a press briefing following the proceedings inside the White House. But the press briefing in past years has been a bipartisan affair, with both Republican and Democratic governors sharing their impressions of their meeting with the nation’s chief executive.
However, after Monday’s meeting with Trump, Republican governors, including Matt Bevin of Kentucky and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, held a press conference in an area known informally as “Pebble Beach” outside the West Wing.
Democratic governors were directed elsewhere.
“Some of our govs planned to go to Pebble Beach to talk to reporters and were not able to,” Democratic Governor’s Association Spokesperson Jared Leopold told the Washington publication the Hill in a text message.
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However, not every Republican governor was happy to be in attendance at the White House. On Sunday night, Trump held an official White House dinner for the 46 governors, Democrat and Republican, attending the annual governor’s conference.
The governors then made a “working” visit to the White House on Monday morning. But on both occasions, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner chose to stay away from Trump even though the issue of crime in Illinois’ largest city, Chicago, was on the agenda for discussion.
The Chicago crime issue has been a frequent topic for Trump in his speeches and other public pronouncements, even threatening in January to “send in the Feds” if Chicago itself did not bring violent crime under control.
No previous president has barred governors from one party from speaking at the traditionally bipartisan press conference. In 2014, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal used the press conference to accuse President Barack Obama of waving a “white flag of surrender” on the issue of economic growth, sparking a full-blown partisan verbal brawl in front of the assembled media.
Despite barring Democratic governors from the traditional bipartisan press conference, Trump held a press conference of his own at the White House following his meeting with the governors on Monday morning.
That press conference may be viewed in its entirety in the video below.
At his meeting with the governors, Trump reportedly admitted that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was more complex than he had previously realized, saying that “it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”
[Featured Image by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images]