Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has urged Donald Trump to cancel daily White House press briefings, accusing the media of being a “corrupt institution” and “dishonest opponents” of the US president. “I am personally offended by the American news media. I think it is destructive and disgusting. It is a danger to the country right now,” Gingrich, a staunch supporter of Trump, was quoted as saying by Politico.
Gingrich said the press should be banished to a nearby Starbucks and that the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer should take questions from the American people. Gingrich said Trump should treat news media as “dishonest opponents pretending to be reporters,” Politico reported.
“Just say to the American people, you get to choose,” he said. Gingrich asserted that Trump as the US President has a right “to declassify anything he wants to,” and that Presidents for centuries have disclosed sensitive information in chats with foreign officials.
Closing the press briefing room would send a message to the country “that the media is a corrupt institution and he is tired of being harassed by people whose only interest is making him look bad.” He also said that reporters shouldn’t print information they couldn’t attach a name to, the report said.
“You guys are nuts,” he said as he described the Trump’s communication team as one of the best. “There are people here who read this crap and thinks we should be afraid. You have a national defence team of Mattis, Kelly and Tillerson. This is the best team since Eisenhower,” he said.
“These people around the world read you as though you’re real. The damage the news media is doing to the United States is despicable,” Gingrich said.
Trump has previously accused news media of being “the enemy of the American people,” which journalists have rejected. The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) on Friday pushed back on Trump’s threat to cancel future White House briefings, noting that “White House briefings and press conferences provide substantive and symbolic opportunities for journalists to pose questions to officials at the highest levels of the US government.”
“Doing away with briefings would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the US system, no political figure is above being questioned,” Jeff Mason, WHCA president said in a statement. “The White House Correspondents’ Association would object to any move that would threaten those constitutionally- protected principles.”