The White House Correspondents’ Association says the lack of a protective pool traveling with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the final days of the general election campaign is “a serious breach of historical precedent and First Amendment responsibilities.”
“It is not normal and it is unacceptable,” said Jeff Mason, a Reuters correspondent and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Both campaigns have established traveling pools, but neither campaign has agreed to a protective pool, which in the case of the president allows a pool (typically a still and video crew) to travel with the president and share details with the White House press corps. A protective pool is considered important to ensure journalists are present in the event a comment is made by Clinton or Trump–one of whom will soon be president-elect–or should a threat be made on either of them.
The WHCA expressed similar concerns over the summer, calling out Trump for banning reporters and Clinton for failing to hold a news conference:
The public’s right to know is infringed if certain reporters are banned from a candidate’s events because the candidate doesn’t like a story they have written or broadcast, as Donald Trump has done.
Similarly, refusing to regularly answer questions from reporters in a press conference, as Hillary Clinton has, deprives the American people of hearing from their potential commander-in-chief in a format that is critical to ensuring he or she is accountable for policy positions and official acts.