White House press secretary says daily briefings aren’t coming back any time soon
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Monday that she is not likely to conduct a White House press briefing anytime in the near future, deriding the once-regular sessions as an act of “theater” for reporters seeking “to get famous” during the televised news conferences.
“Not right now,” Grisham told the hosts of “Fox & Friends,” when asked whether the White House will resume its daily press briefing, a longstanding practice under President Donald Trump’s predecessors.
“I mean, ultimately, if the president decides that it’s something we should do, we can do that, but right now he’s doing just fine,” she continued. “And to be honest, the briefings have become a lot of theater. And I think that a lot of reporters were doing it to get famous. I mean, yeah, they’re writing books now. I mean, they’re all getting famous off of this presidency. And so, I think it’s great what we’re doing now.”
Grisham, who has rarely participated in on-camera interviews since becoming press secretary in June, praised her boss as “his own best spokesperson” and claimed he is “the most accessible president in history, as all of the media knows” — citing Trump’s frequent informal gaggles with the White House press corps.
Grisham also suggested that reporters’ criticisms of the president’s previous press secretaries, Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, played a role in Trump’s decision to discontinue the briefings.
“I think that it’s so important that, you know, the spokesperson for the president can adequately speak to his policies and get his message out there, and I think the president saw that that’s not what was happening,” she said. “It had become, again, theater, and they weren’t being good to his people. And he doesn’t like that. He’s very loyal to his people, and he put a stop to it.”
Spicer was widely mocked for his combative and sometimes stumbling performances during the daily White House news briefings, which memorably became a subject of parody by actress Melissa McCarthy on “Saturday Night Live.”
Sanders oversaw the end of the daily briefings amid mounting questions from journalists regarding her credibility. She opted to develop a regular presence on cable news programs, especially “Fox & Friends,” where she would bludgeon the president’s detractors.
Grisham has been largely reluctant to advocate on-air for the administration’s priorities, but she weighed in Monday on the controversy surrounding Trump’s summer conversation with Ukraine’s president that is quickly consuming the White House and Capitol Hill.
“The president made it very clear he did absolutely nothing wrong. This is just another reason for Democrats and for the media to attack and look for things that just aren’t there,” she said.
The Wall Street Journal initially reported on Friday that Trump urged newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy roughly eight times during a July 25 phone call to work with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
Trump confirmed Sunday that he discussed Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, during his call with Zelenskiy.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place,” he told reporters outside the White House. “Was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”