Trump threatens to take away credentials of White House Press Corps

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

President Trump has mused privately during his nearly 16 months in office about revoking reporters’ press credentials, according to multiple people familiar with his comments.

On Wednesday, he brought it up publicly, tweeting “take away credentials?” as a question.

If he intended to provoke a reaction, he succeeded. Some journalists expressed outrage at the idea. Others dismissed it as typical Trump bloviating.

The White House Correspondents Association, which represents the press corps, expressed concern about the tweet.

“Some may excuse the president’s inflammatory rhetoric about the media, but just because the president does not like news coverage does not make it fake,” the association’s president, Margaret Talev, said. “A free press must be able to report on the good, the bad, the momentous and the mundane, without fear or favor. And a president preventing a free and independent press from covering the workings of our republic would be an unconscionable assault on the First Amendment.”

The White House has historically been permissive about press passes, erring on the side of greater access, even for obscure, partisan or fringe outlets. There are no indications that Trump is actually taking steps to change that. But Wednesday’s tweet showed his continued hostility toward the journalists who cover him.

“These authoritarian impulses of yours are anti-American,” former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, now a CNN contributor, tweeted in response.

Trump linked the “credentials” question to a complaint that network news coverage of his presidency is “negative (Fake).”

“He has a lack of understanding of how news coverage actually works, and unfortunately so do a lot of his supporters,” Maggie Haberman of The New York Times tweeted.

Trump’s question faced some criticism from one of his most powerful allies in conservative media. Matt Drudge, the founder of The Drudge Report, tweeted Wednesday morning, “I fear the future result of Trump’s crusade on ‘fake news’ will be licensing of all reporters.”

“The mop up on this issue is going to be excruciating,” added Drudge, who stays in regular contact with the White House, but who has fired a number of warning shots at the administration.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders may be asked about the credentials comment at Wednesday afternoon’s briefing.

In private, Trump sometimes grumbles about the press and grasps for possible penalties, like revoking credentials, according to the people familiar with his comments.

At times, the people said, Trump names individual reporters whose coverage he doesn’t like and feels is unfair to him, but more often he talks about blocking specific television networks or other outlets.

He has a history of doing this. During the presidential race, Trump’s campaign denied credentials to several news outlets, including The Washington Post, Univision, and Politico.

But he told CNN in a June 2016 interview that if elected, he would not kick reporters out of the White House. “When I’m representing the United States, I wouldn’t do that,” he said.

After the election, Trump aides like Steve Bannon continued to push proposals that would have inhibited the work of the White House press corps. But none of those ideas — like moving press briefings out of the West Wing — came to pass. A ban on television coverage of the briefings only lasted a few weeks.

Despite the president’s constant complaints about the media, journalists have given the administration generally high marks for access around the White House.

During Trump’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning, when the press pool was brought in for a photo op and a few questions, Yahoo’s Hunter Walker asked, “Will you ban press from the White House?” Trump did not answer.

But at the same cabinet meeting, he talked about the press covering the Americans who were released from North Korea on Wednesday. The three men are expected to arrive back in the United States early Thursday morning.

“It’ll be quite a scene,” Trump said.

CNN’s Oliver Darcy contributed reporting.

Brian Stelter and Kaitlan Collins, CNN Money

Trademark and Copyright 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News