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Clinton's Weak Excuses For Not Holding Press Conferences

Clinton's Weak Excuses For Not Holding Press Conferences

David Graham | The Atlantic

Donald Trump and the press corps have had a stormy relationship this year. Trump hates the media, and reporters distrusts Trump. (I wonder why?) But the two warring factions have found common cause in critiquing Hillary Clinton for not holding press conferences.

Trump, in perhaps one of the more clever steps in a campaign prone to wrongfooting, has begun sending out daily or near daily emails pointing out how long it’s been since the Democratic candidate gave a press conference. That’s 272 days if you’re keeping score at home, which you should not do, because Philip Bump built a widget to do that:

Complaints about this have bubbled up from the start of the campaign, in early June, for instance. Then they get eclipsed by some other story, usually a splashy Trump comment. On Thursday, Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, stepped right into another round. On CBS’s This Morning, Kaine said Trump “didn’t have the guts to look the Mexican president in the eye and bring up the central position in the campaign,” i.e., who would pay for a wall on the southern U.S. border.

Trump did at least take a few questions from reporters in Mexico City. Why, then, was Clinton not giving more press conferences?

“You see Hillary take questions from reporters every day,” Kaine said. “She talks to the press everywhere she goes.” He immediately got push back from the hosts. “Really?” Kelly O’Donnell asked.

“I don’t see what the massive difference is between a press conference and talking to the press wherever you go,” Kaine replied. But many reporters, especially those who spend their time on the trail with Clinton, begged to disagree.

Clinton has also not yet set up a “protective pool,” a crew of reporters who travel with her on her campaign plane, which is typical. The Clinton team cited the fact that Trump didn’t have one either as a reason for the lag, but then Trump announced a pool. (It isn’t going totally smoothly: The designated pool reporter on Wednesday didn’t have a passport handy for Trump’s trip to Mexico, due to a last-minute announcement, and the campaign wouldn’t provide transportation for a fill-in.) Kaine said Thursday that a pool is coming as soon as next week.

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