WHCA Slams Trump Over Credentials Threat: ‘Unconscionable Assault on the First Amendment’

“A free press must be able to report on the good, the bad, the momentous and the mundane, without fear or favor,” warns White House Correspondents’ Association president

Margaret Talev

The White House Correspondents’ Association blasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he suggested earlier in the morning that he would consider revoking press credentials for journalists who displeased him.

“Some may excuse the president’s inflammatory rhetoric about the media, but just because the president does not like the news coverage does not make it fake,” said WHCA president Margaret Talev. “A free press must be able to report on the good, the bad, the momentous and the mundane, without fear or favor. And a president preventing a free and independent press from covering the workings of our republic would be an unconscionable assault on the First Amendment.”

The rebuke from Talev comes after a dyspeptic day for President Trump on Twitter, which included his latest threat to take action against the “fake news” media.

“The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake),” he wrote. “Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?”


Based on other tweets from Wednesday morning, it appeared the president was watching “Fox & Friends” as is widely reported to be his custom at the White House. If credentials were revoked it would prevent White House journalists — the members of Talev’s association — from covering administration developments and would be particularly noteworthy for regular events, like the daily morning briefing and Oval Office gatherings.

Talev and the WHCA have been under a microscope in recent weeks over the stand up performance of comedian Michelle Wolf at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner last month, which Talev declared was “not in the spirit” of the group. Wolf came under fire, with many attacking the routine as overly cruel to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.