Only hours of announcing the media would be permitted to cover President Donald Trump’s first fundraiser for his re-election campaign in 2020, the White House reversed itself and closed the event to the media.
Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emailed reporters stating that “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.”
The event was originally listed as closed press, but Sanders announced after inquiries from reporters that a small press pool would be allowed to cover the President’s remarks.
Within two hours, the event was again closed to press. There was no explanation from the White House on the reversal, nor an explanation of what logistical challenges were present in hosting the media.
Former President Barack Obama had allowed members of the media to cover his remarks during fundraisers for himself or other candidates, although cameras were generally banned. In some cases, Obama would hold fundraising events entirely off limits to the press. In those situations, he was not delivering formal remarks, but instead taking questions from donors. These discussions with donors were always closed to reporters.
Former President George W. Bush also allowed the media to cover portions of his first re-election fundraiser.