Republican President-elect Donald Trump's forthcoming administration may finally decide to take its war with the media to the logical extreme and ban the press from the White House, Esquire exclusively reported.
According to the magazine, "three senior officials on the transition team" say plans to transfer the press from the White House press room to "the White House Conference Center — near Lafayette Square — or to a space in the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House" are under serious consideration.
While Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told Esquire there has been "no decision" and the team was primarily concerned with whether the press complex could hold enough people, another senior transition official gave the magazine a different motivation for wanting to remove the press corps from the White House.
"They are the opposition party," the senior official said. "I want 'em out of the building. We are taking back the press room."
Media have used the press center in the White House since 1970, when President Richard Nixon constructed the existing complex above the White House pool. Ejecting the press from this space would thus reverse a policy of welcoming the media into the president's residence that has been in place for nearly 50 years, and serve as an undeniable indication the nascent Trump administration would shirk expectations of transparency.
As Esquire noted, when President George W. Bush moved media briefings to the White House Conference Center during temporary renovations, it "prompted such concern that the president himself had to offer his assurance" they would be returning.
Trump, however, has relied upon tirades against the press as a continual source of publicity throughout the campaign season and during his transition, and it remains to be seen whether his love-hate relationship with the national media will extend to a formal removal of the White House press corps. However, the president-elect has created blacklists of opposition media like BuzzFeed and plays favorites with notably conservative outlets like far-right site Breitbart, the New York Post and the National Enquirer.