White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham made the case against holding daily press briefings, after an opinion piece from 13 former White House press secretaries, foreign service and military officials called for their return.
“This is groupthink at its finest. The press has unprecedented access to President [Donald] Trump, yet they continue to complain because they can’t grandstand on TV,” Grisham told Axios in response.
“They’re not looking for information, they’re looking for a moment,” she continued. “This President is unorthodox in everything he’s done. He’s rewritten the rules of politics. His press secretary and everyone else in the administration is reflective of that.”
Previous administrations held daily, or near daily press briefings.
Grisham has not held a single briefing since assuming the position in July. Rather, she communicates via Twitter and appears for interviews on conservative television outlets.
The opinion piece argued that daily briefings keep citizens informed and in turn, strengthen the government as a whole.
“Yes, presidents are now able to communicate directly via the internet, social media and tweets,” the 13 co-authors wrote. “But most Americans will learn about the work of the White House in the reports they see, read, and hear in what we collectively call ‘the press.'”
They continued, “The press will report a story to the best of their ability whether they are briefed by the administration or not. But regular briefings generally lead to better and more responsible reporting.”
Grisham hit back saying that Trump consistently speaks to the press and that the press secretary’s office is always available to be contacted.
“They know my boss has probably spoken directly to the press more than all of theirs did combined,” she said. “They know the press secretary briefs in the absence of the president, and this president is never absent — a fact that should be celebrated.”
She praised Trump and acknowledged she will continue to do her job as she has been.
“Like so many trailblazers, history will look back on this presidency with praise … until then, I’m comfortable with how I do my jobs … and my team and I are always available to the press,” she said.