When President-elect Donald Trump’s team moves into the White House it could kick the press out of the building. Esquire was first to report on the possibility, saying some in the administration don’t want reporters to be so close. Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tried to tone down the issue, characterizing it as much ado about nothing.
The plan reportedly under consideration involves kicking the media out of the White House press room, where reporters have worked for decades, into either the White House Conference Center or to the Old Executive Office Building, which is next door to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary acknowledged that “there has been some discussion about how to do it” but insisted “there has been no decision.” He said the discussions were a question of inclusion rather than exclusion. “A question is: Is a room that has forty-nine seats adequate? When we had that press conference the other day, we had thousands of requests, and we capped it at four hundred,” Spicer said. “Is there an opportunity to potentially allow more members of the media to be part of this? That’s something we’re discussing.”
Priebus downplayed the discussions even more, noting on ABC’s This Week that “some of the folks in the press are uptight about this and I understand.” The incoming White House chief of staff said the only thing that has been discussed is whether to move the press conferences in order “to fit four times the amount of people in the press conference, allowing more press, more coverage from all over the country.”
Yet unnamed officials who talk to Esquire say any potential move has more to do with the contentious relationship Trump has with the press, which has led some in the administration to see the reporters as more than just mere observers. “They are the opposition party,” a senior official told Esquire. “I want ‘em out of the building. We are taking back the press room.”