CNN’s Brian Stelter falsely reported that President Donald Trump was the first president in 15 years to skip the tradition of hosting an end-of-the-year press conference before leaving Washington, D.C. for Christmas.
“While it’s by no means a requirement to do so, most presidents in modern times have chosen to hold a formal news conference in December to tout accomplishments and share seasons greetings before Christmas,” Stelter wrote on Friday. “This is the first time in 15 years that a president has opted not to.”
Trump is heading south without holding an end-of-the-year press conference. This is the first time in 15 years that a president has opted not to… Here's my full story https://t.co/AU78GHo9bn
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 22, 2017
But he failed to mention that former President Barack Obama skipped the tradition in 2009.
Instead of hosting an end-of-the-year press conference, Obama chose on 12/24/2009 to deliver a statement praising the Senate for passing health care reform.
Watch the video below:
After the statement, Obama walked away from the White House podium. When one reporter shouted back a question as to whether he had a message to the troops, Obama briefly returned to remind reporters that he would be calling some of the troops later in the day.
Challenged by this fact, Stelter cited an Obama press availability in Copenhagen in December as proof that he gave an end-of-the-year press conference.
But Obama’s press availability in Copenhagen was not an end-of-the-year press conference; it was a briefing for reporters on his efforts on climate change. Obama’s own website describes the Copenhagen event as an “availability.”
Reporters and the president overseas in Norway did not “tout accomplishments and share seasons greetings before Christmas,” as Stelter described it.
End-of-the-year press conferences are traditionally held in the press briefing room at the White House, allowing all reporters a chance to ask the president a question.
In subsequent years, Obama continued the tradition of hosting an end-of-the-year, a change that was much appreciated by the White House Correspondents Association, as it is a rare opportunity to ask the president questions about his annual accomplishments.
President Trump skipped the end-of-the-year tradition, but he did host the White House press pool in the Oval Office for a bill signing ceremony and answered five questions about his first year as president.