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White House Invites Pro-Trump News Outlet To Cover Press Briefings After They Were Banned For Ignoring Social-Distancing Rules

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has invited a conservative news outlet to attend Trump's press briefings as her guest one day after the outlet was banned by the The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) for violating social distancing guidelines.

On Wednesday, the WHCA voted to remove conservative news outlet One America News Network (OAN) from rotation in the briefing room after the network's correspondent, Chanel Rion, stood in the aisle during both Tuesday and Wednesday's press conferences in clear violation of the government-mandated policy meant to prevent the spread of the pandemic.


And OAN was not even on the attendance list on those days to boot.

Last month, the WHCA tightened their policy to limit the number of occupied seats in the White House briefing room to 14 reporters on rotation spread out across the room's 49 seats.

Reporters standing in the aisle is prohibited. However, Rion disregarded the safety guidelines and remained standing in the back of the room on a day she was not supposed to attend.

But of course Trump called on her anyway.


OAN founder and chief executive Charles Herring emailed the Washington Post to confirm her presence "was appropriate" and that she had been invited but did not say by whom.

After the incident, Rion says she spoke with Grisham on Thursday morning as was invited back on an OAN broadcast:

"I met with her, we discussed the situation and she invited me again to attend the briefing today as her guest, standing in the back."

According to The Hill, Grisham has not responded to comment on Rion's statement.

President Donald Trump often calls on OAN and on one occasion has even complimented Rion when she asked if his decision to withdraw troops from Syria was related to the U.S. special forces raid killing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi back in October.

Trump responded:

"It's a great question. And you're doing a great job, by the way. Your network is fantastic."
"They're really doing a great job. Please let them know."



WHCA President Jonathan Karl issued a statement explaining why the association voted to ban OAN from press briefings.

"We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy."

Karl asserted that no one is allowed in the briefing room without an assigned seat on any given day in order to promote the social distancing policy.

"If somebody is to be a guest of the White House, they should be sitting in the seats to the side which are set aside for White House staff."

The board of the correspondents organization announced their decision in a statement and commented:

"We do not take this action lightly. This is a matter of public safety."

"Five administration officials and outside allies" of the President told the Los Angeles Times that the reason why Trump has given exposure to One America News may have something to do with his disappointment in Fox News coverage.

An anonymous official shared:

"He often gets upset with Fox when their coverage isn't as positive as he thinks it should be."
"Pumping up OAN sends a message to Fox to stay in line."

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