White House press secretary Josh Earnest defended President Obama’s claim that his is the most transparent president in U.S. history.
“I have a responsibility in this job to try to help the president live up to his commitment to be the most transparent president in history,” he said Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources.
CNN’s Brian Stelter said he was surprised that Earnest stood by this position given the widespread complaints by journalists and other Americans about the administration’s lack of transparency and restrictions on freedom of the press, noting the “prosecution of whistle blowers.”
Earnest responded that he “absolutely” sticks by that line.
Stelter noted a letter from the Society of Professional Journalists in which 40 press groups called on the president to be more transparent. “Some would say that they [the journalists] may be more adversarial because you are all withholding more than ever,” he added.
“They’re all journalists,” Earnest replied. “The day that they sort of sit back and say, you know, ‘We don’t need to write a letter; the White House is telling us everything that they’re supposed to,’ is the day that they’re no longer doing their jobs.”
Earnest noted that the administration has taken a number of steps “to give people greater insight into what’s happening at the White House.” He explained that under Obama, the White House guest log is now released on the internet on a quarterly basis, and that reporters have access to presidential fundraisers held in private homes.
“I think the president’s record of transparency stands up to any of the records of any of his predecessors,” he said.