According to three senior officials on the transition team, a plan to evict the press corps from the White House is under serious consideration by the incoming Trump Administration.
If the plan goes through, one of the officials said, the media will be removed from the cozy confines of the White House press room, where it has worked for several decades. Members of the press will be relocated to the White House Conference Center—near Lafayette Square—or to a space in the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.
“There has been no decision,” Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, said about the plan today. But Spicer acknowledged that “there has been some discussion about how to do it.”
“I WANT ‘EM OUT OF THE BUILDING. WE ARE TAKING BACK THE PRESS ROOM.”
In the midst of the George W. Bush presidency, when relations between reporters and the Administration were growing testy, the White House press corps was removed from the press room for nearly a year, while the facility was remodeled. The move prompted such concern that the president himself had to offer his assurance that it was only temporary. (As it happened, press conferences were held at the White House Conference Center during the renovation).
Trump himself, of course, is in many ways a creature of the press, and it remains to be seen whether he will sign off on a plan that puts more distance between him and the cameras whose attention he has long sought. But for some Trump officials, the media’s presumption of entitlement all but requires a change. If there is a credo that reflects the culture inside the James Brady Briefing Room (named after President Ronald Reagan’s first press secretary, who was wounded by a bullet meant for Reagan), it is that presidents come, and presidents go, but the White House press corps is forever. In that sentiment, some in the transition team discern precisely the attitude that led to the revolt that elected Trump president.