Since July 2019 when Stephanie Grisham was appointed as the White House Press Secretary, the White House hasn’t had any press briefings or conferences, with the US president Donald Trump preferring to use his Twitter or favorite network Fox News to dispatch information to the public.
Trump stopped the press briefings after clashing with a CNN reporter Jim Acosta last year, and feels the press briefings are used by some journalists to further their personal careers by grandstanding.
One of Trump’s most hated TV networks, CNN, recently wrote an opinion piece that included messages from 13 former White House press secretaries, foreign service and military officials arguing for the return of daily press briefings.
According to the CNN opinion piece, press briefings by the president is necessary especially in times of military conflict or tensions between the US and other nations.
The CNN article states; “We respectfully urge the resumption of regular press briefings across our government, especially in the places where Americans want the truth, our allies in the world want information, and where all of us, hopefully, want to see American values reflected.”
The letter, posted Friday, adds that the briefings take on “even more importance” in times of military conflict.
“Americans want to know the latest developments and seek the truth. On social media, wild rumors can fly, and our adversaries can manipulate disinformation to their advantage. This is now well documented,” the letter said. “For that reason, among many, the country needs trusted sources of information delivered on a timely and regular schedule. That is the fundamental responsibility of people who serve as spokesmen and women for presidents, cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking government officials.”
Grisham responding to the CNN article said to Axios on Monday that the authors of the letter — among them former White House press secretaries for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and, Barack Obama — “can publicly pile on all they want.”
“It’s unfortunate, because I’ve always felt I was in this small club of only 29 others who really know what I deal with each day, and that was always comforting. They may not say it publicly, but they all understand why I do things differently,”
“They know I have three roles. They know my boss has probably spoken directly to the press more than all of theirs did combined. They know the press secretary briefs in the absence of the president, and this president is never absent — a fact that should be celebrated.”
Grisham added: “Like so many trailblazers, history will look back on this presidency with praise — until then, I’m comfortable with how I do my jobs — and my team and I are always available to the press.”