President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration is considering a plan to remove the press corps from the White House, according to a report published Saturday by Esquire.
Trump’s incoming administration is giving the plan serious consideration, according to three senior transition team officials cited in the report.
Under the plan, the press corps would be moved from the White House press room to the Old Executive Office Building next door or the White House Conference Center, an annex building across the street, Esquire reported, citing one of the three officials.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there had been “no decision” on the matter but “there has been some discussion about how to do it,” as quoted by Esquire.
He suggested that the decision would be a matter of logistics.
“Is a room that has forty-nine seats adequate?” Spicer said as quoted in the report. “Is there an opportunity to potentially allow more members of the media to be part of this? That’s something we’re discussing.”
Another senior official quoted in the report suggested significantly more adversarial motives behind the plan, however.
“They are the opposition party,” the official said, apparently referring to the press. “I want ’em out of the building. We are taking back the press room.”
Trump routinely excoriated the “dishonest” media on the campaign trail, slamming reporters and publications by name during rallies.
He threatened to “open up” libel laws to make it easier to sue media outlets, who he said were “among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met.”
Trump blacklisted media outlets which he claimed covered him unfairly from his campaign events during the election. Spicer, who took part in his own share of contentious interviews during the election, said in December that Trump will not ban individual media outlets from the White House.
At a press conference on Wednesday, little appeared to have changed as Trump refused to let a reporter from CNN ask him a question, calling the reporter “rude” and saying that he worked for a “fake news” organization.
After the news conference, the reporter said on air that Spicer told him that “if I were to do that again, I was going to be thrown out of this press conference.”