Sarah Sanders begins first press briefing of 2019: 'Missed you guys'

Sarah Sanders begins first press briefing of 2019: 'Missed you guys'
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Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday began the White House's first press televised briefing of 2019 by telling the press she missed them.

"Missed you guys," Sanders said as she reached the podium at the James A. Brady briefing room.

Her appearance in the briefing room marked the first on-camera press briefing in more than a month. Sanders conducted two briefings in October, and one each in November and December.

Before Monday, the most recent White House press briefing was held on Dec. 18, marking the longest gap during the Trump presidency.

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Trump tweeted last week that he directed Sanders to stop giving briefings because of what he called rude and inaccurate coverage of his administration.

"The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the “podium” much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press," he tweeted. "I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!"

White House Correspondents Association President Olivier Knox responded to Trump's tweet by saying the move represented a "retreat from transparency and accountability."

“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 said.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley last week defended the communications strategy, saying on Fox News that "a lot of the times when we don't come to the podium it’s because the president has addressed the American people himself."