Three former press secretaries say President-elect Donald Trump will make it more difficult for reporters to get news from the White House.
Nicole Wallace and Ari Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush, and Joe Lockhart, who served under President Bill Clinton, voiced their concerns on the Jan. 1 broadcast of NBC’s "Meet the Press," as reported by The Hill.
Wallace said Trump craves the press “like an addict craves their drugs,” and is, therefore, more interested in getting attention than conveying information.
“This press corps can't stand Donald Trump,” observed Fleischer, explaining that Trump “uses it to his advantage.” Lockhart said Trump is like President Richard Nixon in that “they create their own facts.” Wallace added: "We are in a new place. And I don't think it's good.”
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Since his election, Trump has largely ignored the traditions of presidential media coverage, The New York Times notes. For example, he has refused to allow journalists to travel with him on his plane. He also has not held any news conferences since July, relying heavily on Twitter instead.
Regarding Trump’s tendency to communicate with tweets, former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry sarcastically remarked, “I think any White House needs to explain its position and reasoning in more than 140 characters.”
Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, acknowledged in an interview on "The Hugh Hewitt Show" that his boss will do things differently. “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,” he declared.
Sean Spicer, the former communications director of the Republican National Committee who is now Trump’s press secretary, told Fox News on Dec. 29 that there would still be daily briefings, but said the format could be more “innovative” and “entrepreneurial.” As a result, Ari Fleischer thinks it is Trump’s desire to turn the daily press meeting into “a red-hot TV show.”
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Scott Wilson, a White House correspondent, warned that the plans to alter daily briefings are a “slippery slope.”
“There is value in having a formal setting where the administration’s position is stated and can be referred to and can be archived,” he said.
However, Google already archives hundreds of billions of tweets, The Guardian reports, so presumably saving Trump’s tweets would be relatively easy. That way, his New Year’s tweet “to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly” will be preserved along with the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and other literary presidents.