White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday responded sharply to a non-governmental organization's recent claim that President Donald Trump's comments on the media have denigrated press freedom in the United States, noting that she consistently answers "unvetted" questions from reporters.
At a White House press briefing, a reporter asked Sanders about America's place on the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, which ranks the U.S. forty-fifth out of 180 countries.
Reporters Without Borders, an NGO that promotes freedom of information worldwide, created the index and cited Trump as the reason for America's drop in the rankings.
"The first year of President Donald J. Trump's presidency has fostered further decline in journalists' right to report," the group wrote. "He has declared the press an ‘enemy of the American people' in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempted to block White House access to multiple media outlets, and routinely uses the term ‘fake news' in retaliation for critical reporting."
A reporter asked Sanders about America's ranking and Reporters Without Borders' explanation.
"What's the reaction of the White House, and does it accept that the president's comments [have] denigrated freedom of the press in the United States?" the reporter asked.
"I certainly would reject the idea that the president or this administration has halted freedom of the press," Sanders said. "We're one of the most accessible administrations that we've seen in decades."
"I think by my mere presence of standing up here and taking your questions unvetted is a pretty good example of freedom of the press, and I think it's ridiculous to suggest otherwise," Sanders added.