Allies of President Donald Trump worry the latest battle between the administration and the press could have adverse affects on Trump’s ability to get his message out, especially as Senate Republicans struggle to pass a health care bill and the administration searches for a much-needed political win.
Since Trump returned from his first foreign trip at the end of May, access to the administration in the form of daily press briefings has been slowly but surely curtailed. There’s now more off-camera briefings, and, in several instances, audio recording has been restricted. On-camera briefings, watched by millions of television viewers, have been cut back significantly infuriating the White House press corps who argue the administration is trying to shirk their responsibility of having to answer tough questions in public.
This ramped up tension, blessed by Trump and embraced by embattled press secretary Sean Spicer has reached a tipping point at the same time as a heated deliberation over a Republican Senate health care bill that seeks to replace Obamacare is taking place at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The process by which the bill was crafted has been criticized for its secrecy and lack of open hearings by members on both sides of the aisle. But now Trump allies say the administration is making a mistake by not maximizing the dissemination of its message to Americans during this crucial time.