Pressed on when Trump might break his nearly yearlong press conference drought, Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered only absurd excuses.
For all of his attention-seeking, Donald Trump has spent most of his time as president hiding from accountability by refusing to hold a solo press conference. His last such event was on Feb. 16, 2017, which was 320 days ago. It was the only one of his presidency so far.
At Tuesday’s first White House press briefing of the new year, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked when Trump might break that streak, and could only assure Playboy magazine correspondent Brian Karem that she would publicly announce any future press conference, should it ever materialize.
Sanders then laughably asserted that Trump is “one of the most accessible presidents we have had,” and added that he communicates using a “variety” of methods, “often through Twitter.”
She concluded by describing the purpose of press conferences, in her mind, which is apparently geotagging:
The purpose, if I understand correctly, is for you to get information on where the president is, and we do that in a variety of different ways.
The purpose of press conferences is, of course, not for us to get a fix on Trump’s location, but to allow the free press to hold him accountable for his words and actions.
Trump’s aversion to full press conferences extends well beyond his presidency. His last press conference, where he attacked several reporters, was a disaster. Before that, as president-elect, Trump held one press conference at which his own lawyer exposed the hopeless conflicts of interest his presidency would present.
Prior to that, Trump never held a full press conference during the general election.
Trump’s Twitter feed may be a useful engine for attacking people and campaigning for accused child molesters, but it is no substitute for a free press, no matter how badly Sarah Huckabee Sanders wishes it were.