The White House Correspondents’ Association took a backhanded swipe Wednesday at OANN reporter Chanel Rion for continuing to break White House social distancing guidelines at press briefings.
The WHCA has sought to limit the number of outlets and reporters present at briefings during the coronavirus, establishing a seating rotation for reporters to follow. OANN was taken out of that rotation April 1 after its reporters ignored the rotation and attended briefings from the side aisles, a trend that has continued despite the punitive action. (RELATED: Pelosi Says Senate Coronavirus Bill Is Discriminatory To Residents In DC, One Day Before House Vote)
“If you do not have an assigned seat on a given day, please do not use the press areas of the White House on that day,” the WHCA Board said in a Wednesday email to members, emphasis theirs. “We have asked the designated print pooler to work to the best of their ability to cover gaggles of administration officials. It is imperative that we keep the number of people working from the White House to an absolute minimum.”
“If you do not have an assigned seat, please do not attend briefings during this crisis and do not stand in the aisles, doing so defeats the purpose of the measures we have all taken comply with CDC guidelines and puts your colleagues at risk,” they added.
The WHCA began asking reporters to work from home if at all possible in March, around the time White House staff began issuing temperature checks to nearly everyone on the grounds. (RELATED: The CIA Is Trying To Find China’s Real Coronavirus Numbers)
The White House has escalated its efforts to protect President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in recent days, announcing it would begin administering quick-result COVID-19 tests to those meeting with the executives. The press, however, was exempt from the requirement.
Both Trump and Pence have tested negative for coronavirus, with Trump being tested at least twice.