Could reporters covering White House goings-on soon be relegated to standing in front of the fence, much like the New York Times describes reporters in the 1890s? A report published Saturday night by Esquire suggested a move of some sort, with three senior transition team officials telling the magazine discussions have been had to move the press corps out of the 49-seat West Wing press room and to one of two other nearby locations: the White House Conference Center, which was used as a temporary press center during a previous press-room revamp, or the Executive Office Building just west of the White House. The announcement surprised those in the journalism arena, fresh off a contentious press conference the president-elect held earlier in the week. Trump's incoming press secretary Sean Spicer told Esquire the topic had been broached but not decided on.
"There's been so much interest in covering a President Donald Trump," he said, attributing a possible move to, among other things, not enough seats to accommodate a growing number of reporters. Another senior official offered a different take, calling the press "the opposition party" and noting, "I want 'em out of the building. We are taking back the press room." Reince Priebus, Trump's incoming chief of staff, tried to assuage jittery feelings Sunday on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, noting a move to the EOB—"which, by the way, is the White House"—had been discussed, and that such a move would offer more access, per ABC News. White House Correspondents' Association President Jeff Mason said in a statement that the WHCA "[objects] strenuously to any move that would shield the president and his advisers from the scrutiny of an on-site White House press corps." (Read more White House press corps stories.)