President Donald Trump held a press briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Friday — and according to an official statement from the White House Correspondents Association, the event was inconsistent with the administration’s own social distancing guidelines.
WHCA President Jonathan Karl explained: “Today, the White House press office positioned seating for the president’s Rose Garden’ ‘news conference’ in a way that violated the federal government’s guidelines on social distancing and needlessly put reporters’ health at risk.”
WHCA statement on today’s press conference—at which Trump took no questions—where seats were initially placed far apart but were moved closer together before the event started. The press office told WHCA that decision was made because “it looks better.” pic.twitter.com/KEXbHxfLh5
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) June 5, 2020
According to Karl, the Trump White House was more concerned about visuals than the journalists’ wellbeing.
“The chairs were initially positioned in a way that was consistent with social distancing guidelines but were moved closer together by White House staff shortly before the event started. When we asked for an explanation, the White House press office told us the decision to move the chairs close together was made because ‘it looks better.’”
Karl ended the statement on an angry note, asserting, “The health of the press corps should not be put in jeopardy because the White House wants reporters to be a prop for a ‘news conference’ where the president refused to answer any questions.”