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Donald Trump’s team to keep White House press room in West Wing, but he’ll choose who gets in

President Barack Obama stands with White House press secretary Josh Earnest during his last press briefing, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci).
President Barack Obama stands with White House press secretary Josh Earnest during his last press briefing, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci).

WASHINGTON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – President-elect Donald Trump said his administration will not move the press briefing room out of the White House into a larger space but will choose the media representatives who go into it, according to an interview with Fox News.

Trump’s team had discussed moving news conferences out of the small West Wing briefing room to the Old Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House complex, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday on ABC.

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“The press went crazy, so I said, ‘Let’s not move it.’ But some people in the press will not be able to get in,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.

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“We have so many people that want to go in so we’ll have to just have to pick the people to go into the room – I’m sure other people will be thrilled about that,” he said. “But we offered a much larger room because we need a much larger room and we offered to do that, but they went crazy.”

“And they’ll be begging for a much larger room very soon, you watch.”

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The current press room has about 49 seats, which are assigned by the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA).

According to WHCA President Jeff Mason, a Reuters correspondent, the association took over the job of assigning seats in the press room over two decades at the request of Republican and Democratic administrations who wanted to avoid the appearance of playing favorites.

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Trump has had a contentious relationship with some prominent U.S. news organization that he refers to derisively as the “mainstream media,” banning some news outlets during the presidential campaign and publicly criticizing individual reporters.

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Moving the briefing room would mark a potential change in access for reporters as the briefing room is only steps from the Oval Office.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Editing by Franklin Paul)