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WASHINGTON D.C.— Vice President-elect Mike Pence and incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus were forced to respond on Sunday morning to an Esquire report that said they were looking at moving the White House Press Corps out of the White House and across the street.
“What the team told me is there is such a tremendous amount of interest in this incoming administration that they’re giving some consideration to finding a larger venue on the 18 acres in the White House complex to accommodate the extraordinary interest,” Pence said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Priebus continued that line of thought, saying, “What I’m talking about, what we’re talking about and the only thing that was even discussed about this was whether or not we want to take that room that only holds 50 people in that very small press room … and whether you want to go 50 feet to the [Eisenhower Executive Office Building] and have, for the first few weeks or the first month or so, the press conferences where you have three or four times the amount of people.”
The Esquire piece quotes an anonymous transition official who said, “They are the opposition party. I want ’em out of the building. We are taking back the press room.”
The White House Press Corps has had workspace in the White House ever since the Nixon era. The current room, named after James Brady, the Regan press secretary who was shot during John Hinckley Jr.’s assassination attempt, has workspace, broadcast space, and space for news conferences, which may also be on their way out.
In recent weeks numerous outlets have reported that they were looking at possibly doing away with the daily press briefings, which are usually done by the Press Secretary. Presidential news conferences are also commonly held here, except in extraordinary circumstances, in which case it’s moved to the East Room.