The White House barred all but one American print reporter from a dinner with President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un after journalists shouted questions about longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen during a photo op earlier in Hanoi.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the meetings we have limited the pool for the dinner to a smaller group, but ensured that representation of photographers, tv, radio and print Poolers are all in the room,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We are continuing to negotiate aspects of this historic summit and will always work to make sure the U.S. media has as much access as possible.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Vivian Salama reported that Sanders banned all print reporters over shouted questions in a photo spray earlier but relented and allowed one print reporter in.
“Please note: your print pooler is the only print reporter who will be allowed into the final spray tonight with Chairman Kim. (Originally Sarah Sanders informed us that no print reporters would be allowed in due to sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays. But when our photo colleagues joined us in protest, they decided to allow one print reporter in),” Salama wrote.
Salama wrote that she saw “at least one [North Korean] still photographer and one cameraman,” at the dinner.
Associated Press condemns reporter ban:
The Associated Press, whose reporter Jon Lemire was barred from attending the dinner, condemned the White House’s move to prevent reporters from attending.
“The Associated Press decries such efforts by the White House to restrict access to the president. It is critically important that any president uphold American press freedom standards, not only at home but especially while abroad,” an AP spokesperson said in a statement.
Along with the AP, reporters from Reuters, Bloomberg News, and the Los Angeles Times were barred from attending.
Reporters were also kicked out of press room:
“The move came a day after the U.S. press corps was kicked out of its filing center in Hanoi at the request of the North Korean entourage,” The Washington Post reported. “The White House booked conference facilities at the Melia hotel as a press workspace, which was being paid for by news organizations, but the hotel in the heart of the city also happened to be where Kim and his delegation decided to stay. As Kim’s motorcade headed toward Hanoi on Tuesday, Vietnamese officials suddenly booted the U.S. media from the hotel and relocated their operations at a separate site sharing space with the international press corps.”