President Donald Trump has not answered a single question from the press since Election Day.
That was 19 days ago and several media outlets projected Joe Biden as the next President of the United States 15 days ago. Yet Trump is continuing to avoid reporters as Biden prepares to transition to his new role at the White House.
“This is an unprecedented streak of silence for the President of the United States,” CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter said on “Reliable Sources” Sunday.
Press briefings have “basically disappeared from the White House and from key government agencies,” he added.
Although not uncommon for Trump’s press secretaries to take long breaks from meeting with the White House press corps, Trump himself had remained engaged with reporters throughout his presidency, often talking to them on the White House lawn on his way to the Marine One helicopter. But since November 3, Trump has been in hiding from the media, sticking to his familiar Twitter feed to speak to the public.
It’s not just Trump who is avoiding the press. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller hasn’t fielded any questions, despite the White House’s decision to draw down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. And Vice President Mike Pence has taken no questions, despite his role as head of the Coronavirus Task Force.
“It’s a broader effort throughout the entire government,” said CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins on “Reliable Sources” Sunday.
People who work closely with Trump don’t want to answer questions about what the president is doing because he’s still attempting to overturn the results of the election behind the scenes — and know they’ll face questions about the president’s efforts, to which they have no answers, Collins added.
“Officials are refusing to either comment on this or put themselves in a situation where they know they would be asked about this right off the bat from reporters,” Collins said.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany showed up to a press briefing on Friday, her first one in seven weeks. At the end, she refused to take a question from Collins, calling her an “activist.”
Collins said McEnany’s comments didn’t shock her.
“The sad state of affairs is it didn’t faze me or the other reporters in the room that much, I don’t think, because we have seen something like that that time and time again,” Collins told Stelter.