Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders technically held her first press conference in over a month on Thursday, but there weren’t actually any reporters or journalists in the room to cover it. None that are legally allowed to drive, that is.
Sanders’ press conference was a “kids-only” briefing, Talking Points Memo reported. It’s part of the White House’s participation in “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”
While the event was likely a fun and jovial affair for the kids involved, it highlights a serious issue for journalists who want to speak to the press secretary about serious matters involving President Donald Trump. Oddly, the event with the children is “off the record,” per reporting from Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders makes some news at kids’ press briefing:
—Trump will speak at Air Force academy graduation in Colorado next month.
—NASCAR driver Joe Logano will be at WH soon.
(White House gave permission to report those parts of this off record briefing.) pic.twitter.com/pu02ibeFad
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 25, 2019
Since Sanders last held a press briefing at the White House (one with professional journalists, not kids), many important events have occurred.
On the matter of the Russia investigation alone, several updates have happened, none of which have been addressed in a press briefing. Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr; Barr’s controversial letter to Congress detailing the report was released shortly after that, and weeks later a redacted version of Mueller’s report was made public.
The last time a press briefing occurred is so far back that, on the same day it happened, a summit in Vietnam between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un abruptly ended — but journalists were not able to ask Sanders about it in a press briefing the following day because such an event wasn’t scheduled and didn’t happen.
In addition to other important national news stories, journalists are likely particularly interested in asking Sanders questions about her being mentioned in the Mueller report.
In May of 2017, Sanders told reporters in the White House that the president, who had just fired FBI Director James Comey, had done so in part because agents at the bureau had lost confidence in his leadership. “I’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision,” she said at the time.
Yet according to the Mueller report, when she was questioned about this justification, the press secretary admitted that the talking point (which she had mentioned on several occasions) was entirely baseless, per reporting from Vox.
In recent interviews, when she was asked about her lying to reporters two years ago, Sanders said that it was a mere “slip of the tongue.”
It’s unlikely that reporters’ children will be asking her questions about the matter today. Equally unlikely is that reporters themselves will be given the opportunity to ask about it any time soon, given the fact that such press briefings are now rare events.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.