President Donald Trump on Friday said he moves so fast that his communications staff in the White House can’t keep up.
“Yes, that’s true,” Trump confirmed in an interview set to air Saturday night with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, an excerpt of which was released Friday afternoon.
As a result, Trump is recommending scrapping press briefings, doubling down on an earlier tweet.
“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”
He proposed in his Fox News interview that “we don’t have press conferences” to remedy his staff’s inability to keep pace. It’s unclear whether Trump misspoke when he said “press conferences” and intended to say “press briefings.” The difference, however, is largely semantics, since in both cases the president or a White House official is taking questions from the media.
“Well, you just don’t have them,” the president suggested. “Unless I have them every two weeks and I do them myself, we don’t have them. I think it’s a good idea.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Friday cast Trump as “a very active” president but argued that despite the long hours aides put in, “sometimes we don’t have an opportunity to get in to see him, to get his full thinking,” before public briefings and interviews. He told reporters Friday that the president is “a little dismayed” by press coverage.
“I think that there are times when you more than not read a story where someone is trying to pin — trying to pull apart one word, one sentence and say, ‘Aha,’ and make it a gotcha thing,” Spicer said.
“We see time and time again an attempt to parse every little word and make it more of a game of gotcha as opposed to really figure out what the policies are, why something’s being pursued or what the update is on this, and I think that’s where there’s a lot of dismay,” Spicer added. “And I don’t think it’s something that just alone the president feels.”
Trump said his aides face “a level of hostility that’s incredible” and “very unfair.” He praised his top spokespeople, Spicer — “a wonderful human being” and “a nice man” — and his deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders — “a lovely young woman” — but expressed confidence in Spicer to maintain his role as the White House’s lead spokesman, aside from the president himself.
“Yeah, he is. He is” still the White House press secretary, Trump said. “He’s doing a good job, but he gets beat up.”
Asked whether Spicer will still be press secretary tomorrow, Trump didn’t respond with yes or no. “Well he’s been there from the beginning,” he said.