Trump administration’s proposal for new venue and inclusion of non-traditional media follows president-elect’s latest outbursts against mainstream reporters.
Talk radio hosts and bloggers could be invited to official White House press briefings once the Trump administration takes office, under a highly irregular proposal being floated that may also remove briefings from the West Wing.
Trump’s pick for White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Sunday that due to “off the chart” interest in the new administration, the president-elect was considering moving briefings from the James S Brady press briefing room, which has been used by presidents to address the media since 1970, to a venue with a greater capacity.
A report published by Esquire magazine on Saturday indicated the venue could be inside the Old Executive Office Building, just west of the White House.
“I know change is difficult sometimes,” Spicer told Fox News. “But sometimes change can actually be better.”
Spicer argued the proposal would mean “you can involve more people, be more transparent, have more accessibility”. He suggested that this would mean outlets that are not traditionally part of the White House press corps would be able to ask questions during presidential press briefings.
“There’s a lot of talk radio and bloggers and people that can’t fit in right now and maybe don’t have a permanency because they’re not part of the Washington elite media,” Spicer said, “but to allow them an opportunity to ask the press secretary or the president a question is a positive thing. It’s more democratic.”
Around 200 journalists make up the White House press corps. The Brady press briefing room holds 49 seats for major media organisations, which are granted space by the White House Correspondent Association (WHCA). The Guardian is among those outlets allocated a space.