Washington, D.C. - The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush’s tense relationship with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is so obvious it was displayed primetime on “Saturday Night Live” in February.
Thrush joined four other members of the White House press corps to reflect on the Trump administration as it nears its first 100 days.
Asked by moderator Bret Baier, Thrush, in a tone of dismay, said the White House briefing has been "diminished" in the past few months. It started, he said, the day after the inauguration, when Spicer held a spontaneous presser and "berated" the journalists in the room about the crowd sizes on the National Mall.
While Thrush was very critical of Spicer’s treatment of the press, the writer had praise for President Trump. Thrush noted this White House has “violated issues of process” when it comes to press protocol, but he appreciated that Trump has made himself so accessible to reporters when it comes to major stories. For instance, last week, Trump picked up the phone and called him and his coworker Maggie Haberman, offering them an exclusive interview.
“I think he gets props for this,” Thrush said.
In the same vein, Trump called The Washington Post’s Robert Costa on the phone to give him the huge scoop that the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan had been scrapped.
Trump’s press conferences deserve props as well, Thrush noted. As bombastic and entertaining as Trump’s pressers are, Thrush observed that he at least is not afraid to call on reporters he may not like.
In contrast, Thrush recalled how Barack Obama had “a neat little piece of paper” with about six or seven reporters’ names on it and “he never divulged from that.”
“Trump is much more willing to engage with people,” Thrush admitted.
NBC News’s Kristin Welker agreed, noting that the amount of direct access in the Trump White House is something she “never” experienced during the Obama administration.