McCurry, Fleischer debate White House turmoil under Trump

As the new administration struggles, two former White House press secretaries discuss with USA TODAY’s Susan Page on Capital Download the risks and rewards of turmoil, Donald Trump’s tumultuous relationship with the press, and whether the president should stay off Twitter. Mike McCurry worked for President Bill Clinton, and Ari Fleischer for President George W. Bush. They also weigh in on whether the president and the reporters who cover him should be toasting one another at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Comments have been edited for length and clarity.Donald Trump was not elected to be a smooth operator. He was not elected to be an established, well-known Washington hand. If people wanted to have calm, they would have elected Hillary, a Washington insider who would have known how to make the appointments, etc.The First Amendment is so much bigger and more powerful than the temporary words of the president acknowledging the role of the press. The press doesn’t need a president to acknowledge it; the press has it. It’s called the First Amendment, and it’s inviolate. And the press just has to do its job, whether the president likes it or not. The press just has to be neutral, and fair, and accurate and call it as they see it.It would be in most cases for a White House reporter absolute bliss to be able to wake up at 6 in the morning and see the innermost thoughts of the president on your smartphone at that time in the morning.

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