Presidential Campaign

240 days and counting: Why Hillary won’t do press conferences

Greg Nash
240 days. That’s how long it’s been since Hillary Clinton last held this thing called a press conference. 
How long is 240 days? With the NFL preseason set to kick off this week, let’s put it this way: You can play not one, but two NFL regular seasons back-to-back in that period of time. 

{mosads}Dec. 4, 2015. That was the date that the Democratic nominee last spoke to the embedded press corps that follows her every move and knows the campaign better than anyone. 

How long ago is early December? At the time, not one vote was cast in the Democratic primary. 

And lest anyone think that Team Clinton has any plans to hold one anytime in the next 98 days until Election Day, here’s what her campaign pollster Joel Benenson declared last week when asked about the subject last week on ABC during the Democratic National Convention:

This kind of sneering condescension by the Clinton campaign — who almost act insulted when the question around having a presser is even asked — was also on full display during a luncheon sponsored by The Wall Street Journal in Philadelphia at the DNC on Wednesday. The Hill’s Jonathan Easley was there and described how campaign manager Robby Mook “burst out laughing when asked if Clinton would hold court with members of the media before Election Day.” 

“We’ll see,” Mook said. 

Five days ago, the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, hit her on her lack of transparency: 

“235 days since Crooked Hillary Clinton has had a press conference, and you as reporters who give her all these glowing reports should ask yourselves why,” Trump said. “And I’ll tell you why: Because despite the nice platitudes, she’s been a mess. You look at what’s happened with ISIS, which isn’t even mentioned. You look at what’s happening with law and order. They don’t even mention our police. They mention everybody but our police. They don’t have an American flag on the dais until we started complaining. And then they ran up with two very small little flags, one that we saw.”

“So you know, I put myself through your news conferences often, not that it’s fun. 235 days, no news conference for Hillary Clinton,” Trump concluded. “You ought to check it out.” 

Mrs. Clinton did end another dubious streak yesterday, however. It had been five years since she appeared on the political talk show “Fox News Sunday,” hosted by Chris Wallace. And it was one of the most wide-ranging, tough-but-fair interviews we’ve seen during this long campaign season thus far. 

My takeaway: Much of it actually focused on deep dives into Clinton’s positions and platform and not Donald Trump. So many interviews we’ve seen of Clinton during this campaign consist on one theme: Her always being asked to respond to something her opponent said or did. And when each interview is done, viewers watching at home walk away still having little idea what Clinton’s campaign is actually about other the need to defeat Trump. 

But while going on Fox News and facing hard questions is noteworthy (Clinton has only done so three times since 2014), it’s not a press conference — something the media seems to be letting her skate on despite not holding one in 2016. 

A July 25 CNN poll says 68 percent of Americans don’t find Hillary Clinton honest or trustworthy. 

It would be nice to see a poll that also asks the question around transparency as well. 
Because two football seasons have now elapsed since she last held a press conference. And from the way her campaign talks about having even one before Election Day, all appearances say she’ll be running out the clock before she ever entertains having one as a candidate.
Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags 2016 presidential election Democratic Party Donald Trump Hillary Clinton media press conference Republican Party Transparency United States

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