The president of the White House Correspondents Association said Wednesday it’s now “unacceptable” for the next president to travel without a regular press pool, after President-elect Donald Trump went out to dinner Tuesday evening following indications he would be in for the night.
“One week after the election, it is unacceptable for the next president of the United States to travel without a regular pool to record his movements and inform the public about his whereabouts,” said WHCA President Jeff Mason, who is a White House correspondent for Reuters.
Mr. Mason said the group is pleased to hear reassurances from Mr. Trump’s transition team that it will respect traditions of press access at the White House and support a pool structure, but said they need to start acting on the pledges now.
“Pool reporters are in place in New York to cover the president-elect as he assembles his new administration,” Mr. Mason said. “It is critical that they be allowed to do their jobs.”
On Tuesday, a pool report sent just after 6:30 p.m. said a “lid” had been called, meaning there were no more major movements expected from Mr. Trump for the rest of the night.
But his motorcade later left Trump Tower and he was spotted having dinner at a local restaurant.
Spokeswoman Hope Hicks said she hadn’t been aware of the movement and that she wouldn’t do anything to leave the press in the dark, according to a subsequent pool report.
She said a protective pool hasn’t been set up yet, but that reporters will have the standard access once it is.
Many pool reports are relatively mundane, and relay information about presidential trips to the gym or detailed color at public events.
But allowing a pool reporter, or a team of reporters, to travel with the president is designed to keep the public informed and up-to-date about their whereabouts, which is especially important in cases of a national emergency.