The president’s tweet, published on Tuesday, was in response to growing criticism that the White House has not held a press briefing in over a month — or since the partial government shutdown, which began on Dec. 22.
“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,” Trump wrote.
“I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway!” he continued “Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”
The last White House press briefing, which used to occur on a near-daily basis, was held on Dec. 18, ABC News reported. Sanders’ most recent press briefing before December’s was held 21 days prior, on Nov. 27.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley fielded a question about the clear decrease in White House press briefings during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday.
Gidley defended the absence of briefings by pointing to Trump’s impromptu news conferences that are often held on the White House lawn when he’s on the way to Marine One.
“A lot of times when we don’t come to the podium, it’s because the president has addressed the American people himself,” he said, adding that Trump is “the most accessible president in history.”
As for Sanders, Gidley said the White House press secretary will return when she “finds a reason to do that.”
“Sometimes we see a need to come to the podium and communicate things, and sometimes we don’t,” he later added.
The White House Correspondents’ Association president Olivier Knox released a statement on Tuesday, calling the lack of press briefings “a retreat from transparency and accountability.”
“Being able to question the press secretary or other senior government officials publicly helps the news media tell Americans what their most powerful representatives are doing in their name,” the statement read in part.