White House Correspondents' Association fact-checks Trump's chief of staff

The White House Correspondents' Association on Wednesday responded to a radio interview with Reince Priebus, fact-checking the incoming Trump administration chief of staff and calling his remarks concerning.

"The White House Correspondents’ Association notes with concern the comments President-elect Donald Trump’s chief of staff-designate Reince Priebus made on today's Hugh Hewitt program," read a statement from the association. "...The WHCA looks forward to meeting with the incoming administration to address questions and concerns on both sides about exactly this sort of issue."

Earlier today, Priebus told Conservative host Hugh Hewitt that the Trump administration was planning to "revisit" the traditional arrangement with the White House press corps.

Priebus referenced the daily White House briefing and assigned seating in the White House Briefing Room as customs that might be reconsidered:

The point of all of this conversation is that the traditions, while some of them are great, I think it’s time to revisit a lot of these things that have been done in the White House, and I can assure you that change is going to happen...

Earlier in the interview, Priebus also claimed that the formalized process of assigning seats in the the press briefing room began under the Obama administration. Not so, says the association.

"There was a notable factual inaccuracy in Mr. Priebus' remarks: News organizations have had assigned seats in the briefing room since those seats were installed in 1981," the statement read. "That was not an Obama-era innovation as Mr. Priebus suggested. The WHCA assumed responsibility for assigning the seats in the briefing room over the last two decades at the request of both Republican and Democratic administrations, who were mindful of the potential appearance of playing favorites if they assigned the seats themselves."

Wednesday's remarks were the latest evidence of a changing relationship with the White House press under the Trump administration. Previously, Trump left reporters behind on a trip to the White House and gave them the slip during a dinner out with his family.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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