Full pool coverage of the president in cases in which open press coverage is not possible has been a longstanding agreement between the White House and the press corps and the default position that the WHCA expected and advocated ahead of the summit. The White House’s decision not to protect that standard for some key pools during the summit showed in the news coverage, with reporters and networks struggling to precisely determine what President Trump and Kim Jong Un said after the White House did not allow a properly-constituted pool in the room.
WHCA repeatedly shared our members’ opposition to any moves to arbitrarily restrict pools for perhaps the most important foreign policy meeting of this presidency. While there were some full pool sprays, restrictions were placed on other pools including the bilateral and expanded bilateral meetings and an event in which the president addressed a supplementary tv camera with no editorial presence. Even as we were pleased to see a return to the tradition of an open press presidential news conference on overseas trips, our members are strongly opposed to any erosion of the standard for pools and deeply concerned about the impact that would have on the American public.
Margaret Talev, WHCA PresidentMore News