White House spokesman Josh Earnest slammed the Bush administration Thursday for not being as transparent as the Obama administration.
“Allowing the pool into an event that is hosted in a private home represents an advance for transparency that the previous administration didn’t respect,” Earnest said.
Earnest was asked by McClatchy‘s Anita Kumar about a New York Times article on comments President Obama had made at a private fundraiser in Austin, Texas last week. The Times reported that Obama had told Democratic donors that the Democratic party needed to rally around Hillary Clinton and that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) campaign was coming to an end.
The White House had confirmed the president’s remarks to the Times. When Earnest was asked about Obama’s comments during Thursday’s press briefing, he said that he would not comment on them because he does not keep tabs on every statement Obama has made, especially ones from five days ago.
Kumar said that if the White House had allowed the press pool into events then Earnest would not be asked details of the event. Earnest pointed out that the pool was there for the beginning of the event but Kumar added that the pool was not there for the comments that were referenced in the Times report.
When Obama came into office he had made a promise to be the most transparent administration in history. Since that promise, the administration has not held up to that standard.
Vice recently reported on newly released documents from the Department of Justice showing the White House has worked behind the scenes to push against reforms that would give the public better access to information from the federal government.
The report comes a day before Sunshine Week, a week celebrating open government.