State Department news briefings to resume in early March

AP News
Posted: Feb 24, 2017 12:30 PM
State Department news briefings to resume in early March

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said it will resume regular news briefings early next month after facing criticism for not having held one since the Trump inauguration.

The department said Friday it will begin hosting the briefings the first full week in March. The last briefing was on Jan. 19, the last full day of President Barack Obama's time in office. The hiatus from regular briefings is believed to be the longest since the department began holding news briefings in the 1950s.

Officials have remained available to answer journalists' questions despite the lack of televised briefings. But the briefings are watched closely by foreign governments, and some current and former diplomats have expressed concern that their absence was allowing other countries to drive foreign policy debates.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has not yet named a spokesperson for the department. Acting spokesman Mark Toner, a career diplomat who was deputy spokesman in the final years of the Obama administration, is expected to handle the first briefings.