WH Press Secretary Says She Doesn't Need to Hold Briefings

Stephanie Grisham dismisses open letter from predecessors
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2020 7:54 AM CST
Trump's Press Secretary Defends Lack of Briefings
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

White House press briefings were once a daily event, but it has been 302 days since the last one—and White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham isn't exactly apologetic. Grisham, who succeeded Sarah Sanders in the role on July 1 last year, scoffed at 13 officials from the last four administrations, including seven former press secretaries, after they released an open letter on CNN calling for the resumption of briefings, Axios reports. "This is groupthink at its finest," she said. "The press has unprecedented access to President Trump, yet they continue to complain because they can't grandstand on TV." Trump, she said, has "rewritten the rules of politics" and "his press secretary and everyone else in the administration is reflective of that." The press secretary, she said, "briefs in the absence of the president, and this president is never absent."

The former press secretaries from the Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations "can pile on all they want," Grisham said, "but they know my boss has probably spoken directly to the press more than all of theirs did combined." In the open letter, the former officials argued that the "public has a right to know what its government is doing, and the government has a duty to explain what it is doing," especially in times of crisis. "The press will report a story to the best of their ability whether they are briefed by the administration or not," they said. "But regular briefings generally lead to better and more responsible reporting." The New York Times reports that authors Don Winslow and Stephen King have offered to donate $200,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital if Grisham takes questions from the White House press corps for an hour. (More Stephanie Grisham stories.)

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