• ECHO Action Editor

A very dangerous precedent and another threat to free speech: Trump says he'll pick reporters co

Trump Won’t Remove Press From White House, But Says He Will Pick Who Gets In

"President-elect Donald Trump said his administration won't move the press out of the White House after all, telling Fox News that limited seating in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room means his team will have to pick and choose who has access to the West Wing space.In an interview broadcast on "Fox and Friends" Wednesday, Trump backed away from a suggestion made Sunday by his incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, that the briefing room might be moved to a larger space in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.

"The press went crazy, so I said, 'Let's not move it.'" he said. "But some people in the press will not be able to get in."The Brady Press room has 49 seats, with a podium for cameras and standing room for journalists whose organizations don't have an assigned seat. Traditionally, seats are assigned by the White House Correspondents' Association; the legacy television networks and wire services get front-row seats, with national papers and radio taking up the second row. In annexes off the main briefing room, reporters have desks and broadcasters have booths where they can work.But top Trump aides, including Priebus and Trump's pick for press secretary, Sean Spicer, have suggested briefing room traditions could be tossed out in favor of a new way of doing things."

I know some of the folks in the press are uptight about this and I understand," Priebus told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "The only thing that's been discussed is whether or not the initial press conferences are going to be in that small press room. For the people listening to this that don't know this, the press room that people see on TV is very, very tiny – 49 people fit in that press room."

The White House press corps is protective of its access, and has fought against various administrations' efforts to limit space or move them out of the executive mansion.RELATED CONTENTParties, protests to take over DC for Trump's inauguration"

I made clear that the [White House Correspondents' Association] would view it as unacceptable if the incoming administration sought to move White House reporters out of the press work space behind the press briefing room," said WHCA President Jeff Mason in a statement Sunday after meeting with Spicer. "Access in the West Wing to senior administration officials, including the press secretary, is critical to transparency and to journalists' ability to do their jobs.

"Currently, reporters who don't have assigned seats are still able to attend briefings by request. But Trump on Wednesday said the result of not moving the briefing to a larger room would be fewer journalists having access to his administration – and that they would get to determine who gets in.

"We have so many people that want to go in so we'll have to just have to pick the people to go into the room – I'm sure other people will be thrilled about that," Trump said. "But we offered a much larger room because we need a much larger room and we offered to do that, but they went crazy."



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