POLITICS

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Defends Lack Of Briefings, Accuses Reporters Of Wanting To Be 'Stars'

The White House press secretary said the administration is not out to make "stars out of people that want to become contributors on CNN."
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the most recent White House press briefing, Dec. 18, 2018. The once near-daily brie
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the most recent White House press briefing, Dec. 18, 2018. The once near-daily briefings have been held much less frequently over the past few months.

After President Donald Trump’s recent tweet justifying the infrequency of White House press briefings, his press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders criticized some reporters’ decorum. 

In an interview on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday, she suggested that reporters often seek to boost their profiles during the briefings. 

“We’re in the business of getting information to the American people, not making stars out of people that want to become contributors on CNN,” she said. “And that’s, a lot of times, what we see take place in the briefing room.”

“We’re more than happy to take questions, but we think that there should be a certain level of decorum and a certain level of honesty and responsibility that comes with that,” she added.

It’s unclear who Sanders was referring to, but her tense relationship with the press has been the subject of many news stories. 

In June she notably went head to head with Playboy’s Brian Karem over the administration’s migrant family separation policy. This month she had a heated exchange with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who pushed back on her supporting the Trump administration’s false claims that thousands of terrorists have entered the U.S. through the border with Mexico. 

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he told Sanders “not to bother” with White House press briefings because, he said, the administration has been covered unfairly in the media. 

“Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Sanders about the growing criticism that the infrequency of White House press briefings fosters a lack of transparency at the White House and limits its accessibility the public.

“The idea that this White House isn’t accessible to the press is laughable,” she responded. “I’ve done over a hundred briefings, answered thousands of questions from members of the press.”

“I stopped last night after I finished an interview, where I took questions, and took more questions from a gaggle of reporters standing right outside the building behind me,” she continued. 

Asked whether she will hold formal press briefings in the future, Sanders replied, “We’ll see what happens.”

The once near-daily White House press briefings have been held far less frequently over the past few months. The most recent briefing was held over a month ago, on Dec. 18. The one before that was on Nov. 27.

They have also become shorter on average, compared with the early days of the Trump administration, as NPR reported.

White House Correspondents’ Association President Olivier Knox said Tuesday in a statement on Twitter, “While other avenues exist to obtain information, the robust, public back-and-forth we’ve come to expect in the James A. Brady briefing room helps highlight that no one in a healthy republic is above being questioned.” 

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