- The Washington Times
Monday, January 13, 2020

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Sunday slammed an open letter signed by seven former White House press secretaries that called for the return of daily press briefings.

“This is groupthink at its finest,” Ms. Grisham told Axios. “The press has unprecedented access to President Trump, yet they continue to complain because they can’t grandstand on TV. They’re not looking for information, they’re looking for a moment.”

Her comments come after 13 former White House press secretaries, foreign service and military officials penned an open letter for CNN, writing, “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.”

Ms. Grisham, who has never held a formal press briefing since she assumed her role in July, argued that the media is given “unprecedented” access to Mr. Trump and that she and her team are “always available to the press.”

“This president is unorthodox in everything he’s done,” she said. “He’s rewritten the rules of politics. His press secretary and everyone else in the administration is reflective of that.

“In terms of the former press secretaries — they can publicly pile on all they want,” she continued. “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.”

The White House’s last traditional press briefing was on March 11, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was still press secretary. The former press secretaries who signed the letter calling for their return included Joe Lockhart, Michael McCurry, Dee Dee Myers and Jake Siewert of the Clinton administration, Jay Carney and Robert Gibbs of the Obama administration, and Scott McClellan of the George W. Bush administration.

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