Sarah Sanders’s Press Briefings Are Getting Shorter as Trump’s Rate of Mistruths Is Growing

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s daily briefings are becoming progressively shorter just as President Donald Trump’s rate of making false or misleading statements is increasing, according to new analyses detailed by The Washington Post Friday.

Sanders’s appearances before the media in the White House briefing room declined in length for the fourth consecutive month in May. At the same time, Trump is now averaging 6.5 false or misleading claims a day as he approaches his 500th day in office, up from 4.9 claims a day during his first 100 days as president.

On average, Sanders’s press briefings lasted just short of 18 minutes last month, representing a steep decline from the 30-minute average in January. If the current trend were to continue, The Post notes, the briefings would cease to exist by November.

Such a scenario may not be all that far-fetched, given that it was floated by the president last May as his then press secretary Sean Spicer struggled to respond to Trump’s conflicting narratives over the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

"We don’t have press conferences," Trump told Fox News. "We just don’t have them. Unless I have them every two weeks and do it myself. We don’t have them. I think it's a good idea.”

Spicer soon took a step in that direction, beginning to hold briefings off-camera, claiming it would curtail reporters who “want to become YouTube stars and ask some snarky question that’s been asked eight times.”

sarah sanders White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sanders has not gone that far since taking over from Spicer last July, but the Trump administration’s adversarial relationship to the media, led by the president’s frequent cries of “fake news,” has continued.

At the same time, however, the president’s rate of “fake” statements that has been soaring. In May, Trump made an average of eight false or misleading claims per day, according to The Post. That figure was boosted significantly by a rally in Nashville earlier this week when he reportedly made 35 such claims.

Many of those claims concerned immigration, including smearing Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as an “MS-13 lover,” in reference to the brutal gang. Trump rounded out the month with one of his most bold-faced mistruths to date, one that contradicted himself.

“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday.

A year earlier, however, he told NBC’s Lester Holt the opposite. “And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,” he said.

 

 

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