We Don’t Need Daily Press Briefings at the White House

by | Nov 9, 2018


There was an unseemly verbal brawl Wednesday in the East Room of the White House in which members of the press who are avowed enemies of President Trump (Acosta, Peter Alexander and April Ryan among others) attempted to debate the president over the wisdom and probity of his actions as chief executive of the federal government. They were not, in my opinion, seeking information from him. No, they were accusing him of not running the executive branch to their satisfaction. It was evident that they considered themselves to be tribunes of the people engaged in limiting the power of the elected president. How this function had accrued to them by signing employment contracts with CNN and other news businesses is unclear to me.

Acosta was allowed by Trump to ask a question and when answered was unsatisfied with the response. He then refused to yield the floor insisting that he would have answers satisfactory to him in an apparently extensive series of questions. Acosta and a number of other members of the press clearly think of Trump as an enemy. Their demeanor speaks volumes when they address him.

In this instance Trump was evidently looking for a confrontation with these people. He set up a press conference for the day after the election when he was fatigued from his electioneering blitz and less in control of himself than he should have been. He held the presser in the East Room of the White House, a larger space than the usual press room cave, thus allowing a larger attendance by newsies who are known to be mainly his adversaries. He was looking for a fight.

On the other hand, the level of disrespect and hostility on the part of these reporters exceeded their usual execrable performance. When Trump told Acosta that he is a “very rude and terrible man” who daily treats Sarah Sanders with abominable discourtesy and insult, he was exactly correct. When Trump told Acosta that CNN should be ashamed to employ him, he was, in my opinion, also correct. Acosta’s White House pass has been suspended. Good! No one has a right to a White House access pass. A few more should be suspended or revoked to teach the fact that there are costs attached to actions.

It is a good idea to have a White House press office from which the staff can promulgate the president’s policy positions to the media in camera, but it is NOT necessary to expose the press secretary to the daily hostility of the press corps in the Roman Amphitheater atmosphere that prevails.

I suggest that such meetings should end. Let the reporter types go out and earn their money by doing actual research rather than grandstanding for the cameras.

Reprinted with permission from Sic Semper Tyrannis.


  • Col. W. Patrick Lang

    Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years.

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