White House: Idea we aren't accessible to press 'absolutely laughable'

White House: Idea we aren't accessible to press 'absolutely laughable'
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Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday brushed aside criticism over the White House's lack of press briefings, calling it "absolutely absurd" to say that administration officials don't answer reporters' questions.

"I take questions from reporters every single day. The idea that this White House isn’t accessible to the press is absolutely laughable," Sanders said on "Fox & Friends."

Sanders was noncommittal about the future of White House press briefings a day after President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE tweeted that he instructed her to stop going to the podium, citing unfair treatment by the news media.


"We’ll see what happens," Sanders said. "As the president said yesterday, he doesn’t like the decorum in the White House. Look, we’re in the business of getting information to the American people, not making stars out of people that want to become contributors on CNN."

"We’re more than happy to take questions, but we think there should be a certain level of decorum and a certain level of honesty and responsibility that comes with that," she added.

The White House has drawn criticism from media organizations over the increasing rarity of press briefings. Sanders held four briefings in the final three months of 2018 and has yet to hold a formal briefing in 2019. She has not fielded questions from the podium since Dec. 18, the longest stretch without a briefing during the Trump presidency.

“This retreat from transparency and accountability sets a terrible precedent," White House Correspondents' Association President Olivier Knox said in a statement on Tuesday.

"While other avenues exist to obtain information, the robust, public back-and-forth we’ve come to expect in the James A. Brady briefing room helps highlight that no one in a healthy republic is above being questioned," Knox said.

In response to criticism over the lack of briefings, Sanders and others in the administration have noted that White House officials regularly take questions during impromptu gaggles and that Trump will field questions as he departs for Marine One or during pool sprays when a small group of reporters are able to shout questions.

Knox and others in the White House press corps have noted that the alternatives to briefings allow Trump to choose which questions he will respond to and often don't allow for discussion of more niche issues.

“It’s great that the president has taken so many questions,” Knox told the National Journal. “But briefings can also be good for clearing out the underbrush of news: Is that meeting still on? Does he still plan to travel to X summit? When you’re face to face with the president, you’re generally more inclined to ask about headline items.”