×

Donald Trump’s Incoming Chief of Staff Suggests Changes to White House Press Briefings

Reince Priebus, who President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to be his chief of staff, says that “change is going to happen” with some of the White House’s traditional ways of interacting with the press corps.

On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Wednesday, Priebus specifically cited the daily press briefing — usually held by the press secretary around 1 p.m. ET and lasting for about a hour.

“I think that many things have to change, and I think that it’s important that we look at all of those traditions that are great, but quite frankly, as you know, don’t really make news. And they’re just sort of mundane, boring episodes,” Priebus said. “And you know, even looking at things like the daily White House briefing from the press secretary, I mean, there’s a lot of different ways that things can be done, and I can assure you we’re looking at that.”

The briefing has been traditionally an opportunity for members of the press corps to query the press secretary not just on the day’s major breaking news, but a variety of different topics. The briefing is typically covered by C-SPAN and streamed on the White House website.

Priebus also talked about another tradition — the assigned seating in the press room, claiming that it started with the Obama administration.

“In the Bush administration, you just took a seat, and I guess there were a couple of people that have had reserved spots,” he said. “But for the most part, the more formalized reserved seating piece came in over the last eight years. That issue is being talked about.”

He added, “The point of all of this conversation is that the traditions, while some of them are great, I think it’s time to revisit a lot of these things that have been done in the White House, and I can assure you that change is going to happen, even on things that might seem boring like this topic, but also change as far as how we’re going to approach tax reform, the American worker, how we protect them and business all at the same time while skyrocketing our economy.”

The White House Correspondents Assn. expressed “concern” over Priebus’ comments. In a statement, WHCA president Jeff Mason said that there was a “notable factual inaccuracy” in his claim that assigned seating started in the Obama administration. In fact, “news organizations have had assigned seats since those seats were installed in 1981. That was not an Obama era innovation as Mr. Priebus suggested.” The WHCA, he noted, assumed responsibility for assigning seats over the past two decades.

“The WHCA looks forward to meeting with the incoming administration to address questions and concerns on both sides about exactly this sort of issue,” he said.

Trump has not yet named a press secretary, although names such as Laura Ingraham, his national campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley are said to be among those being considered, along with Sean Spicer, the spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

More Biz

  • Mergers and Deals Placeholder

    Tegna Confirms Two Acquisition Offers Withdrawn Amid Coronavirus Upheaval

    Tegna confirmed Sunday that two suitors for the station group have recently withdrawn acquisition offers, citing the upheaval in the broader marketplace caused by the coronavirus crisis. Tegna’s statement is the company’s first acknowledgement that it has received four unsolicited acquisition offers in recent weeks. Two of those have since been withdrawn while the other [...]

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of

    President Trump Says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Must Pay for Own Security

    After moving to the U.S. and leaving the royal family behind, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle must now pay for their own security team, according to President Trump. Before recently relocating to the U.S., the couple had been living in Canada under the watch and protection of British security and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. [...]

  • Donald Trump Anthony Fauci

    Trump Boasts of Coronavirus TV Ratings as Fauci Warns: 200,000 People Could Die in U.S.

    UPDATE: President Donald Trump announced in a press conference Sunday afternoon that the country’s social distancing guidelines have been extended to April 30 and that the peak death rate will hit in two weeks. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won. Therefore we will be extending our guidelines to April [...]

  • Queen Elizabeth

    Queen Elizabeth's Footman Diagnosed with Coronavirus (Report)

    Coronavirus remains firmly in the royal orbit as one of Queen Elizabeth’s footmen has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The royal footman, who regularly walks the Queen’s dogs and was in regular contact with the monarch, is now in self-isolation after falling ill with coronavirus, according to British tabloid The Sun. The revelation comes just [...]

  • A police line forbids the access

    L.A. County Orders Closure of Beaches and Hiking Trails

    Those hoping to escape to the beach this weekend after being pent up at home are out of luck. On Friday, Los Angeles County ordered the closure of beaches and hiking trails, hoping to avoid the crowds that could cause the spread of the coronavirus. State and local officials had previously ordered the closure of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content