White House invites far-right reporter who violated safety rules to briefing


The White House is overriding the White House Correspondents' Association's decision to ban Chanel Rion from the briefing room.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham invited a right-wing personality to attend Donald Trump's daily coronavirus news conference this week, even after the reporter was banned from the briefing room for ignoring social distancing guidelines.

Grisham's decision to invite One America News personality Chanel Rion overrides a decision from the White House Correspondents' Association, which voted to boot Rion from the briefing room.

The WHCA took the action after Rion twice violated a policy limiting the number of reporters in the room in order to keep them, as well as administration officials, safe.

"I spoke with Stephanie Grisham this morning, I met with her, we discussed the situation, and she invited me again to attend the briefing today, as her guest, standing in the back, and I will be in the briefing room today if there's no physical complications with that," Rion said Thursday.

Last month, the WHCA announced a policy to restrict the number of reporters at daily briefings — an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Smaller news organizations that do not have permanent seats in the room are only allowed to rotate into briefings every few days.

But Rion showed up twice on days her outlet was not scheduled to be in the room, causing the WHCA to vote to kick OAN out of the rotation.

"The WHCA Board has voted this evening to remove a news outlet from the rotation for a seat in the briefing room," the WHCA Board said in a statement Wednesday night. "We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy."

The WHCA said it voted to remove OAN as "a matter of public safety."

Jon Karl, president of the WHCA, said in a statement to CNN that there is no room for Rion to attend. Karl added that if Grisham wants Rion in the room, Rion should be "sitting in the seats to the side which are set aside for White House staff."

Rion is a Trump supporter who has defended him over his use of the racist term "Chinese virus" for the coronavirus.

Her Instagram account shows her hobnobbing with Trump and his family and using hashtags like #MAGA.

Rion has also spread conspiracy theories, such as Trump's false claim that Ukraine was trying to meddle in the 2016 election. Trump repeatedly used that debunked conspiracy theory in defending himself during impeachment proceedings against him.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.