Trump White House Considers Moving News Briefings

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg News/TNS) -
President Barack Obama at a news conference in the briefing room of the White House last month. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The incoming Trump administration is considering moving White House news briefings out of the West Wing to accommodate more than the “Washington media elite,” President-elect Donald Trump’s press secretary said.

“This is about greater accessibility, more people in the process,” Sean Spicer said Sunday on Fox News. Involving more people, including bloggers and others who aren’t from the mainstream media, “should be seen as a welcome change,” he said.

Spicer and other Trump officials said no decision had been made.

Their comments followed a report Saturday by Esquire, citing unidentified officials from the transition team, that the new administration may move the press corps out of the main White House building altogether because of antagonism between Trump and the media.

Any change would be made for logistical reasons, in response to heavy demand from media organizations, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Sunday.

“There’s such a tremendous amount of interest in this incoming administration that they’re giving some consideration to finding a larger venue on the 18 acres in the White House complex, to accommodate that extraordinary interest,” Pence said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“The interest of the team is to make sure that we accommodate the broadest number of people who are interested, and media from around the country and around the world,” Pence said.

On ABC, incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said demand for news conference credentials far exceeds the “49 people” who can fit into the current briefing room.

“The one thing that we discussed was whether or not we want to move the initial press conferences into the Executive Office Building,” Priebus said. “You can fit four times the amount of people.”

“I know that some of the folks in the press are uptight about this, and I understand,” Priebus said. He didn’t address whether a change was being considered only for briefings or also for the media’s daily working arrangements. The briefing room is between the offices of White House media officials and those of major news organizations.

After “500 or 600” people attended Trump’s news conference in New York Jan. 11, the president-elect’s first since the election, “we started thinking, man alive, if we have more people involved instead of less people involved, wouldn’t that be a good thing,” Priebus said.