(CNN)Bill Shine is leaving the White House. But not without making his mark.
As CNN’s White House team noted in its piece detailing Shine’s departure: “Shine was a key force behind shutting down much of the press access to the White House, including the daily press briefing, per the source.”
The results speak for themselves. There hasn’t been a press briefing by press secretary Sarah Sanders since January 28 — a space of 39 days. Prior to that January 28 briefing, Sanders hadn’t done a press briefing in 40 days, according to Jim Acosta. Do the math and you get this: The White House has held a “daily” press briefing once in the last 79 days. And, according to The New York Times, Sanders did one press briefing a month in September, November and December.
Trump has been dismissive of the need for these daily — or even weekly — briefings since almost the start of his presidency. Sean Spicer, the White House’s first press secretary, held the briefings regularly, but within the span of a few months it became like watching a car crash in slow motion — over and over again. When Trump replaced Spicer with Sanders, the briefings slowed. Then Anthony Scaramucci was named communications director and, in a remarkable first appearance behind the podium, he promised a return to more regular briefings. The Mooch was fired 11 days later.
Since then, there has been a slow but steady strangling of the briefing. Shine’s hire in July 2018 was, in retrospect, the death knell for the briefing. Shine, like Trump, believed the President was his own best messenger. So he put a system in place whereby Trump did what Trump wanted — and that was to talk to the media whenever he felt like it and not worry too much about old traditions like the daily press briefing.
There’s no question that Trump talks more — a lot more — than his immediate predecessors in the office. But that doesn’t replace a daily briefing in which any reporter can obtain a daily press pass, go into the briefing room, and ask the spokeswoman for the President — and the country — a question.
Here’s the week that was in 17 headlines:
And here’s the Point: Shine leaves the White House without a ton to show for it. Eliminating the daily press briefing, unfortunately, may be his lasting legacy.
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