White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is defending the White House’s decision to break with its past tradition of daily press briefings, claiming reporters were using them “to get famous” rather than to get the news.
Asked in a Monday “Fox & Friends” interview whether the briefings would return anytime soon, Grisham balked at the idea.
“Not right now,” she said. “I mean, ultimately, if the president decides that it’s something we should do, we can do that, but right now he’s doing just fine. And to be honest, the briefings had become a lot of theater, and I think that a lot of reporters were doing it to get famous.”
Continuing, Grisham argued that journalists writing books are part of the problem, asserting that “they’re all getting famous off of this presidency.”
“And so, I think it’s great what we’re doing now,” she added.
During her tenure, Sanders was known to opt instead for appearances on Fox News where she now works as a contributor.
In an August interview with Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s “America This Week,” Grisham indicated the briefings could return but that it would ultimately be up to President Donald Trump to make the call.
In an effort to justify the decision in her latest remarks, Grisham contended that the briefings were intended to provide a space for Trump’s spokesperson to “speak to his policies and get his message out there,” stating that reporters “weren’t being good to his people.”
“And he doesn’t like that,” she said. “He’s very loyal to his people, and he put a stop to it.”
In a January tweet, Trump unleashed one of his routine attacks against the media, stating that Sanders hadn’t visited the podium much because “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.”
“I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway,” he wrote.
The administration has pointed to Trump’s face-to-face interactions with reporters while preparing to board Marine One, for example.
However, as Olivier Knox, then-president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, told The New York Times, the on-the-go talks aren’t a substitute for daily briefings.
“While other avenues exist to obtain information, the robust, public back-and-forth we’ve come to expect in the James S. Brady briefing room helps highlight that no one in a healthy republic is above being questioned,” he said in January. “This retreat from transparency and accountability sets a terrible precedent.”