Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt said Americans only want to “hear from the boss” as she joined President Donald Trump’s campaign manager and Press Secretary in applauding the end of “grandstanding” at White House press briefings.
The Monday morning Fox News crew responded to an open letter from 13 former White House press secretaries and communications officials in urging the Trump administration to restart press briefings. Earhardt and Fox News contributor Molly Hemingway both praised Trump’s refusal to hold a presser in the James Brady briefing room since former Press Secretary Sarah Sanders last did so on March 11, 2019.
“Gosh, it’s almost been one year since we’ve had a press briefing. It’s been kind of nice not to see all that grandstanding. Because when you want to hear from the boss, he just walks right up the cameras and starts talking,” Fox & Friends’ Earhardt said Monday.
Fox’s news hosts were referring to remarks made by current White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham and Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale, who told journalists to “get over” themselves after the open letter appeared Saturday on CNN.
The letter, written by press secretaries and communications officers from the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, said average Americans and foreign allies alike desperately require the “powerful podiums of the State Department, Pentagon and White House” to inform them of news regularly. The authors of the letter went on to “respectfully urge” that the press briefings resume as a reflection of the discourse between the country’s people and its government.
Hemingway and Earhardt pushed back on their accusation that the White House is not holding official briefings purely out of “self-interest” and with the intention of blocking out a “better-informed public.” Hemingway noted that Trump routinely speaks with reporters just outside the White House, typically as he prepares to board the “Marine One” helicopter.
“This is a president who regularly, you know every time he’s coming in and out of the White House he seems to talk to people, and that’s good: more information is good and we want more transparency,” Hemingway said. “But we need some proper behavior from our journalists as well, behaving in a way where people can trust what they have to say.”
Hemingway made the argument that Trump is so transparent that it sometimes seems he isn’t having a “single interior thought” that he hasn’t expressed out loud.
Grisham, who has not held a formal press briefing during her tenure, has drawn criticism from the news media and celebrities alike. Last week, the New York Times penned an article headlined, “Stephanie Grisham: Trump’s Press Secretary Who Doesn’t Meet the Press.” And authors Stephen King and Don Winslow offered to donate more than $150,000 to charity if she’d simply hold one press briefing.
Trump’s 2020 campaign manager also targeted members of the news media as the root cause of no press briefings, tweeting Saturday, “Really? ♂️ You hear from our government every few minutes on Twitter. The only thing happening in these press briefings were reporters grandstanding for ratings and fame. Get over yourself.”
And Grisham, who has never personally held a press conference since she started her job also echoed the “grandstanding” accusation directly at reporters and journalists in a statement to Axios reacting to the open letter.
“This is groupthink at its finest. The press has unprecedented access to President Trump, yet they continue to complain because they can’t grandstand on TV. They’re not looking for information, they’re looking for a moment…History will look back on this presidency with praise – until then, I’m comfortable with how I do my jobs.”
Fellow Fox News host Brian Kilmeade chimed in Monday to claim Trump doesn’t hold briefings because he would “agonize” over having to see the press bickering with former White House Press Secretaries Sanders and Sean Spicer.
“‘Why don’t I just do this myself,'” Kilmeade said, in his attempt to explain Trump’s thought process.