Sarah Huckabee Sanders instituted new rules that effectively deem the entire White House press corps unqualified to possess permanent press passes.
The Trump administration's war on the free press is escalating.
The Trump administration began a "mass purge" of reporters granted permanent access to the White House, after it began enforcing a rule created by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that deems almost the entire press corps unqualified to have permanent press passes, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank reported.
The rule requires reporters to be "physically present at the White House for your job 90 or more days in a 180-day window of time," Politico reported back in March.
Given that reporters don't work weekends, are often traveling either with Trump or for other assignments, and also that Sanders has all but killed the daily press briefing, this new rule all but assures that most permanent White House reporters are no longer qualified for the hard passes that grant them easy access to the West Wing.
Denying them that easy access will make their jobs reporting on the Trump administration more difficult.
"Now, virtually the entire White House press corps is credentialed under 'exceptions,' which means, in a sense, that they all serve at the pleasure of press secretary Sarah Sanders because they all fail to meet credentialing requirements," Milbank wrote in a Washington Post column published on Wednesday.
Milbank said he and the seven Washington Post White House reporters were all part of the press pass purge. And while the seven other reporters were given "exceptions" to be able to cover the White House, Milbank was not — something he attributed to his criticism of Trump.
"The White House press office granted exceptions to the other seven, but not to me. I strongly suspect it's because I'm a Trump critic," Milbank wrote.
Of course, this is just the latest affront to reporters Trump and his administration have carried out since he became a presidential candidate in 2015.
Trump has vowed to make it easier to sue reporters; banned reporters from outlets he didn't like from covering his rallies during the 2016 election; tried to personally revoke the press pass of CNN's Jim Acosta, which a court deemed unconstitutional; and banned CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins from covering an event because the White House didn't like her line of questioning.
Those incidents leave out the fact that Trump consistently calls the press the "enemy of the people," and that he admitted on World Free Press day that he thinks all news about him should be positive and news he doesn't like is the "opposite of free press."
Trump and his administration consistently ignore and defy the First Amendment, one of the bedrock principles of the U.S. Constitution. And their attacks on the free press show no signs of letting up.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.