The Trump administration has been making it progressively harder for the press to ask questions. Daily televised press briefings are gone, replaced by ad hoc off-camera gaggles. The Atlantic’s Rosie Gray encapsulated the problem in a telling anecdote: “Asked why the briefings are now routinely held off-camera, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in a text message ‘Sean got fatter,’ and did not respond to a follow-up.”
Bannon’s gibe distills in three words why this is such a toxic administration. In its glibness it shows contempt for Gray as a journalist. It is also dismissive of the press and the genuine problem of not holding televised briefings. But the comment also verifies press reports that this White House is a nest of vipers.
Bannon’s remarks were not just immature and unprofessional but also evidence of a White House where leading members cannot treat each other, let alone the larger public, with a modicum of decency.