Donald Trump on Thursday refused to allow journalists to travel with him to Washington for his historic first meeting with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.
President-elect Donald Trump keeps America in the dark about his early conversations and decisions about his incoming government, and against a long-standing practice of ensuring the public has a vigilant eye on the new leader of the nation. Trump Thursday refused to allow reporters to travel with him to Washington for his first historic meeting with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. The main advisers of the Republican rejected the demands of news organizations for a small “pool” of journalists to track down Trump while attending meetings in Washington.
The decision was part of an opaque pattern in Trump’s early movements since his victory on Tuesday. Trump was totally lost sight of Wednesday. His aides said he was huddled with counselors at his offices in New York. His team did not publish a daily schedule, or offered detailed updates on how he spent his time. They have not recognized phone calls or other contacts with world leaders.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram of congratulations to Trump on Wednesday, Moscow spread the message. A phone call with British First Minster Theresa May was announced in London. The model was repeated for calls with leaders from Israel, Egypt, South Korea and Australia.
The White House generally publishes statements about the president’s phone calls with foreign leaders, providing some details about the conversation. Former presidents elected had briefings with journalists, even confusing the first hours after polling day.
But the pioneering signs suggest that Trump is ready to break the protocol when it comes to access to the press and transparency.
Press organizations had tried for weeks to coordinate a group of journalists to travel with Trump immediately after election day if he won. The Associated Press is one of those who consult Trump’s advisers on access to the press.
Trump spokesman Hope Hicks said the president-elect team expects to “set up a traditional pool and look forward to the implementation of our plans in the near future.”
The White House Correspondents Association, which coordinates press groups and transparency advocates at the White House, urged Donald Trump to allow journalists to cover its meetings and other movements.
“This decision could leave Americans blind to its place of detention and well-being in the event of a national crisis,” said Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for Reuters and chairman of the group. “Not allowing a group of journalists to travel and cover the next president of the United States is unacceptable.
Donald Trump’s meeting with Obama in the oval office was recorded by the Basin of White House journalists, photographers and television journalists who cover the president.
Each president and president elected in recent memory traveled with a pool of journalists when they leave the grounds of the White House.
A group of reporters and photographers were in the motorcade when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. The pool was a short walk from President Ronald Reagan when he was shot outside a hotel in the District of Columbia, and was parked outside his hospital while he was recovering. The pool also travels on vacation and overseas travel and occasionally captures personal, historic moments of the presidency.
The practice makes reporters eyewitnesses of how the president runs business, rather than relying on second-hand accounts. It often captures more intimate moments between the president and the people he greets. The White House, on the other hand, depends on the presence of journalists nearby to transmit the first comments of the president on the latest news.
The news organizations take turns to serve in the small group, paying their way and sharing the material collected in the pool with the larger press body. The pool also covers official events at the White House when space does not allow the entire press body.
Due to security concerns, presidents and elected presidents travel in a security bubble, with the exact moment of their journey kept secret and the streets often blocked around their events. This leaves media organizations dependent on the White House to facilitate coverage of the pool by organizing security clearances and transportation.
Obama also looked for new ways to limit access to the White House press.
On Thursday, the photographers were not allowed to draw a meeting between the first lady Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, who joined her husband during the visit of the White House.
The White House published a photo taken by a staff photographer and disseminated it on social media. The Associated Press does not broadcast such photos.
White House photographers were allowed to draw a similar meeting between Mrs. Obama and First Lady Laura Bush eight years ago.