In a tweet, President Trump threatens to cancel press briefings

May 12, 2017
Category: Ethics & Trust

In a mini-tweetstorm Friday that combined references to alleged unfair treatment of his spokespeople and the firing of FBI Director James Comey, President Trump raised the possibility of canceling regular briefings with the White House press corps.

This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has threatened to upend the conventions of D.C. reporting. In the runup to the inauguration, a senior administration official told Esquire that the transition team was considering evicting the White House press corps from the James Brady briefing room.

That plan never came to fruition, although the White House has changed the briefing process from the Obama administration’s protocol by calling on more conservative outlets and allowing journalists to ask questions remotely via Skype.

President Trump’s tweet came today after “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski excoriated various White House spokespeople, including Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sean Spicer, saying that they have been proven “not credible” in repeated appearances. Savvy observers of Trump’s Twitter habits have noticed a correlation between the topics on cable news and Trump’s feed.

Trump has made empty threats against the press before on Twitter. In March, he suggested changing libel laws in a tweet that referenced the “failing” New York Times.

The Trump administration’s record on conducting open and regular press briefings has been generally good, with one exception: In February, several news organizations boycotted a press gaggle after their colleagues — including journalists from The New York Times, CNN and the L.A. Times — were excluded.