White House denies limiting columnist's access under new '50 percent' rule

White House denies limiting columnist's access under new '50 percent' rule
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The White House is pushing back on a claim by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank after he said the press pass he has held for more than two decades was revoked for “being a Trump critic.”  

“No one’s access is being limited,” White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersSarah Huckabee Sanders says she is 'relentlessly' attacked by women Sarah Sanders makes debut as Fox News contributor Sarah Sanders to publish book ahead of 2020 election MORE Sanders said on Wednesday night in response a Milbank column published by the Post earlier in the day.

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The back-and-forth comes after the White House announced new rules regarding the number of reporters who are granted hard passes, which allows a reporter and camera crew to enter White House grounds without going through the process of having to request permission daily. 

Under the new rule, which has been implemented in the last few weeks after being announced in March, media members covering the White House can have their hard passes renewed if they have entered the grounds 50 percent or more of the time in the 180 days before renewal.

Sanders cited security concerns as the reason behind the changes, saying the move was not an effort to limit access for journalists covering the administration.

Milbank, who recently wrote Trump should be offered $10 billion in cash reparations in exchange for his retirement from office, says the revocation of his hard pass is "in line" with "threats to revoke to White House credentials of journalists the White House doesn't like."

“The White House press office granted exceptions to the [others], but not to me,” he wrote. “I strongly suspect it’s because I’m a Trump critic. The move is perfectly in line with Trump’s banning of certain news organizations, including The Post, from his campaign events, and his threats to revoke White House credentials of journalists he doesn’t like.”

No reporters that cover the White House on a daily, full-time basis have reported losing their hard pass as a result of the new rules put in place.

Milbank acknowledges in his column the White House has instead offered him a six-month pass while sharing a White House press office tally that he had only been "in the building only seven times in the previous 180 days," which put him well below the new standards.

The Hill has reached out the White House Correspondents' Association for comment.