President Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, just gave her first press briefing in a month-and-a-half, but it was mostly for fun, as Newsweek reports. The session was, in fact, a mock press briefing for the benefit of Thursday’s “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” But that didn’t stop White House reporter Darlene Superville from the Associated Press from seizing the opportunity to take a dig at the embattled press secretary.
“Sarah, when will you brief for the real reporters?” she asked at the end of the mock briefing, according to other journalists in the room. The session was off-the-record and was not recorded.
According to ABC News’s White House correspondent Karen Travers, who was also present, Sanders did not respond to the question.
The current drought of formal press briefings from the press secretary marks the longest such span in White House history at 45 days and counting (if you exclude the briefing for kids in the tally). The previous record of 42 days was also held by Sanders. Prior to that, the longest stretch had been 41 days, once gain under Sanders.
In contrast, Trump personally has tended to take more questions from reporters than previous presidents, for example answering almost 300 questions over an 11 day period in October of 2018.
VP Pence just showed up in the briefing room pic.twitter.com/RWlBpf4JgM— Karen Travers (@karentravers) April 25, 2019
It was Trump himself who publicly endorsed the idea of his press secretary avoiding press briefings.
“The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the ‘podium’ much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press,” he tweeted in January of this year. “I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”
Joining Sanders at the podium were her own children, who were present for White House Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day festivities. Also present was Vice President Mike Pence, who briefly shared the stage with Sanders.
While the event was officially off-the-record, several White House reporters present did share photos and commentary from inside of the room, mostly via Twitter.
In addition to the contents of the mock briefing, the press secretary did speak briefly on the record. Sanders confirmed that the president will give a talk at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation next month and that NASCAR driver Joey Logano will soon visit the White House. There has as of yet been no expectation set regarding when the next traditional press briefing could occur.