President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he told White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to scale back press briefings because of rude and inaccurate coverage by reporters. The president reportedly told Sanders "not to bother."
What are the details?
The president tweeted, "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. I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!"
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. I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
ABC News reported Tuesday that Sanders' 35-day drought on holding a formal briefing is a record for both the Trump administration and every press secretary since on-camera pressers began back in the Clinton administration. ABC News also pointed out that data show that "Trump is well on track to become the most 'accessible' president based on statistics dating back to the time of Ronald Reagan," citing "Trump's own frequent engagements with reporters."
In an interview with Fox News Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley defended Sanders' decision to conduct less frequent hearings, saying, "She will come back when she finds a reason to do that, because so often, so funny, because the media often tell us when Sarah Sanders stands ... at the podium, 'Why can't we hear from the president? We need to hear more from the president.'"
Gidley noted that Trump often engages with the media on the White House lawn while walking to board Marine One and is famous for giving his views on Twitter.
"It doesn't necessarily mean Sarah Sanders needs to be at the podium when the president is talking to the American people," Gidley added.
It is common for White House press secretaries to serve as the punching bag for an administration, but Sanders has been hit with a number of personal attacks during her tenure — including insults about her appearance and being denied service at a restaurant because of her role in the Trump administration.