Thursday, July 9, 2020

Reporters Furious that White House Moved Chairs During Time of Social Distancing

White House reporters expressed outrage after White House staff moved their seats closer together on Friday, effectively ending social distancing for the coronavirus pandemic.

White House correspondent Jim Acosta shared photos of the chairs being spread apart during the media preset period for cameras at the press conference.

When reporters came out to the Rose Garden, it was obvious that the chairs had been moved.

The news conference was initially set up for social distancing. Then the WH rearranged the chairs. Before and after pics from our @abdallahcnnpic.twitter.com/jxKAneAZsy

— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 5, 2020

“This is a flagrant violation of CDC guidelines on social distancing and a move that puts reporters at risk for the purpose of turning the press corps into a prop for a so-called ‘press conference’ where the president refuses to answer a single question,” ABC’s White House correspondent Jon Karl wrote on Twitter after the president’s press conference.

This is a flagrant violation of CDC guidelines on social distancing and a move that puts reporters at risk for the purpose of turning the press corps into a prop for a so-called "press conference" where the president refuses to answer a single question. https://t.co/dgImSBblaO

— jonkarl (@jonkarl) June 5, 2020

Karl currently serves as the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

This was the White House's decision.

Asked why, a White House spokesperson told us: "It looks better."

Added: "Those in the [press] pool are tested, everyone is temperature checked, and asked if they have had symptoms.” https://t.co/29Qcz2zKUE

— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 5, 2020

White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere reportedly told reporters he made the decision to move the chairs because “it looks better.”

On why reporters’ seats in the Rose Garden weren’t spread out, spokesman Judd Deere says
“It was my decision…. It looks better,” and said “I would remind you that those in the pool are tested, everyone is temperature checked, and asked if they have had symptoms.”

— Shannon Pettypiece (@spettypi) June 5, 2020

Reporters were also frustrated the president did not take questions.

President leaves "press conference" without taking q's & heads to Maine – one of the whitest states in America. It's his only trip outside the District this week & not helping optics that he is avoiding larger conversation about racial disparity in the US #TrumpPressConference

— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) June 5, 2020

When PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor interrupted his signing ceremony by shouting out a question, Trump waved his hand to dismiss her.

“You are something,” he replied.

The White House

Charlie Spiering

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