The White House released new rules for presidential press conferences on Monday in hopes of restoring decorum among reporters. They include the following:
(1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;
(2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;
(3) "Yielding the floor" includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.
(4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist's hard pass.
"We have created these rules with a degree of regret. For years, members of the White House press corps have attended countless press events with the President and other officials without engaging in the behavior Mr. Acosta displayed at the November 7, 2018 press conference," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released in a statement. "We would have greatly preferred to continue hosting White House press conferences in reliance on a set of understood professional norms, and we believe the overwhelming majority of journalists covering the White House share that preference. But, given the position taken by CNN, we now feel obligated to replace previously shared practices with explicit rules."
"We are mindful that a more elaborate and comprehensive set of rules might need to be devised, including, for example, for journalist conduct in the open (non-press room) areas inside and outside the White House and for Air Force One," she continued. "At this time however, we have decided not to frame such rules in the hope that professional journalistic norms will suffice to regulate conduct in those places. If unprofessional behavior occurs in those settings, or if a court should decide that explicit rules are required to regulate conduct there, we will be forced to reconsider this decision."
CNN dropped its lawsuit against the White House after the reinstatement of Acosta's hard-pass.
"The White House’s interaction with the press is, and generally should be, subject to a natural give-and-take. President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and a free press and is the most accessible President in modern history," Sanders said. "It would be a great loss for all if, instead of relying on the professionalism of White House journalists, we were compelled to devise a lengthy and detailed code of conduct for White House events."