President Trump has called the news media “the enemy” and routinely labeled reporting he dislikes “fake news.” On Monday, the White House broke another precedent in limiting the press’ ability to ask questions about the president’s decisions.
On a day filled with news, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One that he would not take any questions on the record.
While returning from Utah, where Trump announced a rollback of protections for national monuments in the state, Gidley read reporters a brief series of statements on a few news items of the day – including Trump’s endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and a Supreme Court decision to allow his travel ban to be enforced for now.
Then he announced that he would be declining to answer any questions on the record.
Reporters traveling with the president declined his offer to entertain off-the-record questions.
The refusal to take questions on the record broke with longtime custom on such trips, when informal press “gaggles” take the place of more formal, televised White House briefings.
Why was the White House refusing on-the-record questions? Gidley said he would not answer that question on the record.