WASHINGTON – Republicans have ramped up their hammering of Hillary Clinton for not holding a news conference this year – even as their own presidential nominee has been banning dozens of journalists from participating in his.
Trump has banned Univision, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, The Des Moines Register, Politico and The Washington Post from receiving credentials to his campaign events, including news conferences. The ban prevents reporters who have produced some of the most critical coverage of Trump from even attending, let alone asking questions.
The news organizations were blacklisted because of coverage Trump did not like. (Many of the banned news organizations, though, including this publication, are taking part in a rotation for pool coverage of Trump through the election.) The Des Moines Register was banned after its editorial board called on Trump to drop out of the GOP race last July. HuffPost was also banned last summer after its editors relegated coverage of Trump to its entertainment section. Politico was banned this spring after it ran a story questioning the temperament of its first campaign manager.
This record, though, has not stopped Trump and the RNC from trying to exploit the Democratic presidential nominee’s aversion to question-and-answer sessions with the reporters who cover her campaign daily.
At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani scolded reporters for not more forcefully demanding news conferences from Clinton. “You, the press should be ashamed of yourself. You should be ashamed for not doing your job,” said Giuliani, now a top Trump supporter. “She should not be allowed to run for president and hide in an ivory tower.”
In the intervening weeks, Republican leaders have taken to taunting Clinton on Twitter, in interviews and in their daily emails to campaign reporters.
“Why is the press OK with that?” asked Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway last week on CNBC. “Two hundred and sixty days, you could have had a baby by then.”
Starting last week, the campaign also began sending out emails counting how many days have passed since Clinton’s last formal news conference in December. “HIDING HILLARY: DAY 269,” was the subject line for Tuesday’s, which included a statement from Trump spokesman Jason Miller demanding “full transparency.”
On the issue of transparency, however, the Trump campaign lags far behind the Clinton operation in one key area: fundraising.
The Clinton campaign, from the day it was launched, has disclosed the location of every fundraiser, the name of the hosts, how many were in attendance and what the minimum donation amount was. The practice has been common for presidential campaigns in recent years. Both President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney routinely disclosed this information in 2012.
Clinton, for example, on Monday released information on three fundraisers she attended in the Hamptons. The third, according to the campaign, was held at the home of Tracy and Jay Snyder in East Hampton, where the 25 attendees each donated a minimum of $33,400 to attend.
Trump also held a fundraiser Monday, at a private home near the Stanford University campus in Woodside, California. His campaign revealed zero information about who attended or how much was raised.
Neither the Trump campaign nor the Republican National Committee, which co-sponsors his events as part of a joint fundraising agreement, responded to requests for comment from HuffPost.
The names of donors and the amounts contributed are eventually reported to the Federal Election Commission, but those records do not reveal the names of the hosts or event locations.