Anthony Scaramucci sure knows how to build anticipation.
Asked on Friday whether he would reinstitute regular televised briefings, the new White House communications director said he would have to discuss the matter with President Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who leads the question-and-answer sessions.
In a Sunday interview on CNN, Scaramucci said his personal view is that “we should put the cameras on,” but he made no promises.
On Monday, he tweeted this:
The TV Cameras are back on.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 24, 2017
Alas, Sanders was traveling with Trump on Monday and planned to hold an informal briefing aboard Air Force One. The cameras’ return will have to wait another day.
Assuming Scaramucci keeps his word, he will be making a smart move — for the White House, I mean. A ban on TV cameras always seemed antithetical to the White House’s stated desire to speak directly to voters, without a media filter.
“Social media for the president is extremely important,” Sanders said at a June 5 briefing that was televised. “It gives him the ability to speak directly to the people without the bias of the media filtering those types of communication.”
Sean Spicer, who resigned his post as White House press secretary on Friday, complained in an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham last month about a “mainstream media that has had a stranglehold on deciding what information the American people got to see.”
And Scaramucci told Breitbart News on Saturday that “we have enough outlets, whether it’s Breitbart, the president’s social media feed, all of the different apparatus that we have where people will allow us to deliver our message to the American people unfiltered.”
If the White House’s goal is to deliver Trump’s unfiltered message to voters and not allow the press to decide “what information the American people got to see,” then why would it hold briefings off camera? Why would it forfeit a daily opportunity to seize airtime and let the media determine which remarks to report?
It makes little sense.
Yes, Sanders will have to answer tough questions on live television, but she also will have a chance to make the case for the president’s agenda without being edited down to a sound bite. If the White House really is going back to televised briefings, it is not just because the media demanded more access; it is also because opening up the possibility of cable and live video coverage several afternoons per week is in Trump’s best interest.