The first official White House press briefing was an extra-crowded affair on Monday, but Press Secretary Sean Spicer said some journalists will soon be able to use Skype to participate in the daily gatherings.
According to Spicer, the White House will be adding four “Skype seats” to allow journalists not in the Washington, D.C., area to attend press briefings. Spicer said the seats would open up the briefings to a more diverse group of reporters. Skype, which allows users to do live video calls, was acquired by Microsoft in 2011.
The idea to allow journalists to Skype into briefings was first floated by NBC’s Chuck Todd in an interview with Poynter last week. Responding to reports that the White House might move the press briefing to a bigger room, Todd suggested allowing four to five reporters to Skype in to “expand the aperture of the press corps a little bit and use technology to give opportunity to deserving news organizations.”
It’s not immediately clear what news organizations will have access to these seats, but Spicer said they will be open to journalists who live more than 50 miles outside of the D.C. area.
Spicer also fielded questions from reporters Monday about the White House’s policy on honesty in wake of a dispute on Saturday about how many people viewed President Trump’s inauguration. Spicer argued that streaming internet and television and in-person counts made the audience the largest ever for such an event.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway became embroiled in that conversation on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” with Todd and her use of the term “alternative facts” sparked a viral reaction online. When asked Monday if it was his intention to always tell the truth in press briefings, Spicer said, “Sometimes we can disagree with the facts … but our intention is never to lie to you.”
— New York Times Video (@nytvideo) January 23, 2017
Watch Spicer’s full press conference via The White House’s YouTube stream below: