The White House press corps is strongly pushing back against any attempt on the part of President-elect Donald Trump to evict them from the White House after it was reported Sunday that top Trump administration officials are considering the possibility of kicking the press corps out of their West Wing "residence."
Currently, the White House holds daily briefings in the James Brady Press Briefing Room, which is situated in the West Wing of the White House comfortably near the White House press secretary's office and the Oval Office, giving the press key access to administration officials. The West Wing also has offices where members of the press are allowed to work.
That idea of being denied that access is something the White House Correspondents Association — the official organization tasked with covering the White House — is not taking lightly.
"We object strenuously to any move that would shield the president and his advisers from the scrutiny of an on-site White House press corps," WHCA president Jeff Mason said in a statement, according to ABC News. Mason is also the White House correspondent for Reuters.
"The briefing room is open now to all reporters who request access. We support that and always will," he added. "The WHCA will fight to keep the briefing room and West Wing access to senior administration officials open."
According to Esquire, which first reported the possibly of the move, administration officials said that moving the press to an offsite location would increase the media's access to Trump, given how small the current press area is.
Esquire reports that several locations near the White House are being considered for new press briefing areas — if the administration is to go ahead with the change — including: the White House Conference Center near Lafayette Square or the Old Executive Office Building, which is next door to the White House.
But despite Trump officials arguing that their plan would give the media more access, Mason said in his statement that moving the press corps from the White House is a nonstarter because the location gives them crucial access that is critical to journalists effectively doing their jobs.
According to the Washington Examiner, Mason has already talked at length with incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer about any possible changes to the relationship between the press and the White House under Trump.
"The White House Correspondents' Association has always advocated for increasing access and transparency for the benefit of all news outlets and the public," Mason said of the meeting, according to the Examiner. "I emphasized the importance of the White House press briefing room and noted that it is open to all journalists who seek access now."
"I made clear that the WHCA would view it as unacceptable if the incoming administration sought to move White House reporters out of the press workspace behind the press briefing room," he added. "Access in the West Wing to senior administration officials, including the press secretary, is critical to transparency and to journalists' ability to do their jobs."
Still, no official plans have been put in action to remove the press corps from their cozy location in the West Wing, though Spicer confirmed to Esquire that top Trump officials are seriously considering changes.