Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has yet agreed to a protective press pool, and with just 15 days left until the election, the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) is sounding the alarm, The Huffington Post reports.
Presidents and president-elects are historically followed by a group of reporters who travel everywhere with the individual in order to report on what he or she is doing, with whom he or she is meeting, and are present if there is a historic event or threat on the president's or president-elect's life. Both Trump and Clinton have been criticized for their current traveling press pools, which aren't fully protective — Trump flies without his and has mocked them on the campaign trail, and reporters weren't told where Clinton was for over an hour after she became ill at a Sept. 11 memorial event, raising unnecessary alarm.
The WHCA board wrote stern letters to both Trump and Clinton's campaigns, stating disapproval over the unprecedented break with tradition. "The WHCA expects the new president-elect to have a protective pool immediately, just like the president does, and we are set to take over coordination of the pooling process from the campaign press corps directly after the election," they wrote. "Not having a protective pool accompany the president-elect would be a particularly serious breach of historical precedent and First Amendment responsibilities. It would prompt consistent and public criticism from the White House press corps, represented by the WHCA board. We urge you to take steps now to ensure that a protective pool is put in place."
Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason, who is also the president of the WHCA, told The Huffington Post that Clinton and Trump's situation is "not normal and it is unacceptable." Sen. John McCain and Gov. Mitt Romney both had protective pools as soon as they had finished the Republican conventions, by comparison.
In their letter to Trump, the WHCA board additionally expressed concerns that Trump's campaign is "lagging behind the level of press access provided by its Democratic counterpart." It has been 89 days since Trump last held a press conference.