The White House daily press briefing has been a journalistic institution for more than 100 years, forcing administrations to clarify their positions, answer for their statements, and generally be held accountable by the press (and, through them, their readers) since Woodrow Wilson’s time in office. But while the ritual has held its own against presidents of every political leaning, and events that have defined our modern era, there’s apparently one thing the daily briefings can’t handle: the presidency of Donald Trump.
That’s per Trump himself, who gave an interview to Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro this week in which he suggested that he’s just too spritely a political figure for mere journalistic mortals to keep tabs on. (When asked whether he was “moving so quickly” that his own communications department couldn’t keep up with him, Trump responded with a forceful “Yes.”) His solution? Get rid of Sean Spicer’s daily trip to the dunk tank, and just hold a press conference every two weeks, with Trump himself at the podium. Pirro expressed outright shock at the suggestion—again, there’s a century of precedent here—but Trump seemed to be totally earnest (or, at least, the Donald Trump version thereof) in his suggestion that the long-standing tradition be abolished.
Playing a familiar tune, Trump cited the hostility of the White House press corp, both to deputy secretary Sarah Huckabee and Spicer, who Trump described as both a “wonderful” and “nice” man who just gets “beat up” by those mean old reporters. Presumably, he thinks he’d do better against the “fake news” press, who refuse to let the little things slide when talking to the mouthpieces for one of the world’s most powerful men.
Honestly, we’re kind of amazed that a ratings hound like Trump would give up on such a sure-fire comedy hit; whether he’s drawing unfortunate parallels to the Holocaust, or just spending some time among the Washington bushes, Spicer’s been a must-watch comic figure since he took the office back in January. Still, there’s something to the argument that the only person who can stand-up to the withering scorn Donald Trump’s many bad decisions draw is Trump himself, a guy who’s had 70 years of people calling him out on some truly fetid bullshit without seeming much the worse for wear.