The media doesn’t treat President-elect Donald Trump with the proper respect, the man set to be the next White House spokesman says in an interview with The Hill.
Sean Spicer, the longtime GOP operative and strategist for the Republican National Committee, criticized a media landscape that he said mocked Trump even as it cheers on Democrats.
While he said the media seems to understand that Trump represents a larger movement after his presidential win, his remarks reflected longstanding antipathy on the part of the Trump team on how the businessman has been treated.
“There’s some positive aspects here and there, but largely it still continues to not treat him with the respect that he deserves,” Spicer said.
“I think for a lot of folks inside the beltway, and inside pundit-world, they don’t fully appreciate the understanding that he has of where the American people are,” Spicer continued. “They continue to mock him in ways, when it frankly just shows the lack of understanding of that they have of where the American people are and what they think.”
Spicer also criticized what he said are “countless examples” of the media cheering on Democrats.
“There are countless examples of the media engaging – overtly or covertly – cheering on Democrats and there’s no accountability. But it’s also not even frowned upon,” he said.
The remarks suggest the tempestuous nature of Trump’s relationship with the press is unlikely to change when he moves into the Oval Office.
Trump this week has blasted the media on Twitter, arguing it didn’t accurately reflect his comments about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s publication of documents the U.S. intelligence community concludes were hacked by Russian agents from the Democratic National Committee.
At the same time, the media has come under criticism for its coverage of Trump, which some observers say promoted his campaign and helped him get to the White House.
And many in the media have expressed frustration over Trump’s frequent taunts of the press on Twitter.
There is also displeasure in the press for Trump’s refusal to hold a news conference. Trump is scheduled to hold his press conference as president-elect on Wednesday in New York. It will mark the first time he has taken questions in such a setting in 168 days.
Spicer doubled down on previous signals from Trumpland that there will be changes in the White House press operation, even as he said Team Trump will look to talk to the media on a daily basis.
“It will be a daily something. When I say ‘something,’ maybe it’s a gaggle, maybe it’s an on-camera briefing,” Spicer explained.
“Maybe we solicit talk radio and regional newspapers to submit questions – because they can’t afford to be in Washington – but they still have a question. Maybe we just let the American people submit questions that we read off as well,” he added.
This week’s press conference, he indicated, will be conducted in a “standard” format.
The 45-year-old Spicer said he has spoken to former White House press secretaries from both parties, including Jay Carney and Robert Gibbs, who worked for President Obama; Ari Fleischer and Dana Perino, who worked for President George W. Bush; Mike McCurry, who worked for President Clinton; and Marlin Fitzwater, who worked for President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush.
He also has spoken to Josh Earnest, the current White House press secretary.
“Whether Republican or Democrat, every one of these predecessors has been unbelievably generous with their time, counsel and advice,” said Spicer. “The respect for the institution is one that is shared by all of them.”
McCurry has stated in several recent interviews that while daily televised press briefings began during his tenure, they should no longer be televised now.
“I think his conclusion – his points are right,” Spicer said. “The second the cameras come on it becomes more of a show than an attempt to be more informative.”
A majority of Americans – at least as it pertains to Trump’s active use of Twitter – may feel the president-elect is a bit too informative.
A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 6-in-10 think Trump should stop Tweeting altogether upon taking office.
Spicer argues his boss’s social media activity –Trump has sent more than 50 tweets already in 2017 and has tweeted more than 34,300 times overall – ultimately means little to the people he’s been elected to serve.
“I think this is nonsense. I really do. Because at the end of the day the American people want more than anything else is results. And success. And he’s delivering already,” Spicer said.
“And I think the American people – the people who have their jobs because of his actions — the taxpayers who have watched him save tax dollars, are appreciative, and I’m not too sure they’re concerned with the means by which he achieves that.”
After being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president in less than two weeks, Spicer says not to expect any changes in terms of Trump’s posture with the press.
“Journalists and everyone in America has a Constitutional right to express themselves or write what they want to write,” Spicer explained.
“But he equally has a right to make sure that the record is set straight, the facts are known, and that people can’t just take potshots without being held accountable.”