WASHINGTON (SBG) - President Donald Trump has declared the media the ‘enemy of the people’, but despite the contentious relationship between him and the press, reporters are getting access to the president.
According to research by Martha Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project and professor emeritus at Towson University, Trump is giving lots of access to journalists.
At his second year into his presidency, President Trump has given 200 interviews, 340 short question and answers sessions, 40 news conferences for a grand total of 580 interactions with the press. President Bill Clinton gave the most opportunities with 610.
“When you look at all the public utterances [Trump] has: his speeches, remarks, his interviews, his press conferences and his short Q-and-A, you find over half are instances when he is taking questions from reporters,” said Kumar.
President Trump's favorite are question-and-answer sessions, where he stops to talk to reporters before leaving on Marine One, before and after a cabinet meeting. In his first two years in office, President Obama only had 75 ‘Q-and-A’s sessions, and President George W. Bush had 243.
“I think what that means is that [Trump] doesn’t like giving policy speeches, he doesn’t like to go into depth on anything, and therefore he takes questions from reporters,” said Kumar. “Where somebody like Obama had very few questions-and-answer sessions, because he like to dig deep into policy.”
Even though the press is getting a more access to President Trump, one thing that is disappearing are the White House press briefings.
“It is too bad. The briefings were a regular opportunity for reporters to pose questions that they think are important and the public thinks are important. Not just about the president, but about the administration,” Kumar said.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the lack of press briefings last year, because she says journalists are hearing directly from President Trump.
Kumar believes Trump will continue to answer questions in the last half of his presidency.
“His constituents watch it and they like it. Just like his twitter, he’s not going to stop twitter either. In both instances, his frequent appearances on televisions and his tweets got him to the presidency from his viewpoint.”