On Monday, President Donald Trump told a female reporter to be “quiet” after she asked two questions during a photo op with White House interns.
In an NBC News clip posted to Twitter, Associated Press reporter Catherine Lucey initially asked Trump if Jeff Sessions should resign and, when she was met with interns’ laughter and an eye roll from the president, she asked another question: “Do you have a message on health care?”
Trump responded by saying “Quiet!” and then telling the interns, “You see, they’re not supposed to do that, but they do it. But they’re not supposed to.” He added after, “Get her out of here.”
As the AP pointed out, it is typical for reporters to call out questions during photo ops or bill signings.
Trump’s flippant response to Lucey ― and his quick reaction to remove her from the room ― is a small example of a much larger issue. Since Trump took office in January, he seems to be picking and choosing which media outlets get access to press briefings. Most of the outlets he has barred have been those critical to him and his administration.
In February, the Trump administration frustrated news outlets when it announced that former press secretary Sean Spicer would hold a closed-door briefing. The briefing blocked out specific news outlets including The New York Times, CNN and HuffPost.
NYT executive editor Dean Baquet explained just how disturbing the incident was in a press statement.
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Baquet said. “Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”