WASHINGTON — Hours after telling reporters they would be allowed to cover President Donald Trump’s first re-election fundraiser in Washington on Wednesday, the White House abruptly switched course, closing the event to media in a break from past precedent.
“Unfortunately there was some confusion with the (Republican National Committee) and due to the logistical challenges bringing in the press at this late moment is not going to be possible,” said deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in an email to reporters covering the White House.
Originally the event was listed on Trump’s schedule as closed press. After being pressed by reporters to allow media coverage of the President’s remarks, Sanders announced the event would be open to the White House press pool, a small group of reporters who share information with the larger White House press corps.
But two hours later, the event was closed again. The White House did not provide an explanation of the logistical challenges in accommodating the media.
When President Barack Obama raised money for his own campaign or for other Democrats, members of the media were often allowed to cover his remarks. However, the Obama White House generally barred cameras from covering those events.
Occasionally, Obama’s fundraising events were entirely closed to the media. In those cases, Obama wasn’t delivering a formal set of remarks; instead, he took questions from a smaller group of donors.
Those question-and-answer sessions were always closed to reporters.
Trump was set to deliver remarks at a high-dollar event held at the hotel he owns in Washington. An invitation to the event showed tickets started at $35,000 per person, with a $100,000 price tag to sit on the host committee.
It’s the first event Trump has held to raise funds for his re-election effort. It comes two and a half years earlier than Presidents Obama and George W. Bush held their first money events for their re-election efforts.
Reporters were permitted into Obama and Bush’s first fundraisers.