“There is a suppression of information going on at this WH that would not be tolerated at a city council mtg or press con with a state gov,” Acosta wrote on Twitter.
There is a suppression of information going on at this WH that would not be tolerated at a city council mtg or press conf with a state gov.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 19, 2017
On air, Acosta told anchor Brooke Baldwin that the White House was “stonewalling” the news media.
“The White House press secretary is getting to a point, Brooke, where he is just getting kind of useless,” Acosta said. “If he can’t come out and answer the questions and they are just not going to do on camera or audio, why are we having these briefings in the first place?”
At the briefing, Spicer was again asked whether President Trump believes in climate change, but he said that he did not yet have an answer. He also said that there may be an answer “by the end of this week” as to whether Trump has recordings of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey.
Acosta called the situation “bizarre,” and said, “I don’t know why everyone is going along with this. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. And it just feels like we are slowly but surely being dragged into a new normal in this country where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions.”
Before Trump took office, there had been concerns among the White House press corps that his team would scale back the number of daily press briefings, or move them to another location, outside of the West Wing.
Spicer and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have continued to hold briefings, but they have on occasion prohibited cameras. So some networks, like CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN, have instead carried the audio of the briefings live. More recently, reporters have noted, audio has been restricted as well.
“I don’t understand why we covered that gaggle today, quite honestly, Brooke,” Acosta said. “If they can’t give us the answers to the questions on camera or where we can record the audio, they are basically pointless at this point.”
Spicer was asked about the prohibition on cameras and audio during the briefing, suggesting that the reason was to ensure that Trump was given the spotlight.
“I’ve said it since the beginning — the President spoke today, he was on camera,” Spicer said. “He’ll make another comment today at the technology summit. And there are days that I’ll decide that the President’s voice should be the one that speaks, and iterate his priorities.”