WHCA condemns Trump’s ‘retreat from transparency’ after he says he told Sanders to halt briefings

WHCA condemns Trump’s ‘retreat from transparency’ after he says he told Sanders to halt briefings
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The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) on Tuesday condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE after he said he directed press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to stop giving press briefings.

"This retreat from transparency and accountability sets a terrible precedent,” WHCA President Olivier Knox said in a statement.

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“Being able to question the press secretary or other senior government officials publicly helps the news media tell Americans what their most powerful representatives are doing in their name.”

Knox noted that “other avenues exist to obtain information,” but said “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.”

The statement was released just hours after Trump said Sanders stopped consistently giving press briefings because of unfair treatment by the news media.

The White House faced scrutiny in 2018 about the lack of regular press briefings. Sanders conducted just two briefings in October, and one each in November and December. 

The administration has yet to hold a full press briefing in 2019, with Dec. 18 being the last time Sanders answered questions from reporters in the briefing room. The 35 days since the last briefing marks the longest span without one in Trump's presidency

Trump's tweet followed comments White House spokesman Hogan Gidley made Tuesday about the administration's communications strategy. 

"It’s not that they’ve ever stopped, it’s just that sometimes we need to come to the podium to communicate things and sometimes we don’t," Gidley said on "America's Newsroom" on Fox News. 

"A lot of the times when we don't come to the podium it’s because the president has addressed the American people himself," he added.