CNN host Jake Tapper asked Clinton about her avoidance of press conferences on Tuesday, saying, “It’s been something like five or six months since you’ve held an actual press conference. Is that something you will remedy soon?”
“I’m sure we will,” Clinton responded. “I was shocked myself that I’ve done nearly 300 interviews [in 2016]. I believe that we do, and we should answer questions. Of course I’m going to, in many, many different types of settings.”
The Hill, which drew attention to the clamor for Hillary Clinton to hold a press conference, noted that many of the interviews Clinton referenced were local news interviews that occurred before Democratic caucuses and primaries. She also included appearances on The Ellen DeGenerous Show and Jimmy Kimmy Live as interviews even though the hosts of those shows rarely ask challenging questions.
Those close to Clinton justified her actions by saying press conferences would not benefit her candidacy due to the ongoing FBI investigation into her private email practices during her time at the State Department.
Clinton did hold a handful of press conferences on the campaign trail before December. But her unwillingness to talk to the media more prompted The Washington Post to create a web page that timed how long it had been since she had spoken to the press.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to The Hill‘s request for comment about press conferences.
But one Clinton ally reiterated a common viewpoint among her allies that the media would not treat her fairly if she hold one.
“There’s no benefit. It will only hurt her,” the ally said.
The ally said journalists would pepper Clinton with questions about her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State, why she hasn’t been able to decisively defeat White House rival Bernie Sanders, her likability and other unflattering subjects.
One surrogate called the debate over a press conference “a distraction.”
“She’s doing interviews. Not just with Ellen but with CNN and MSNBC and serious outlets,” the surrogate said. “She’s getting the same questions that she would get from the reporters traveling with her.”
Nancy Cordes, a CBS reporter who has covered Clinton, said Wednesday that the traveling press would rather that the Democratic contender hold more press conferences even if they turned as combative as Trump’s.
“Those of us who cover the Hillary Clinton campaign would love to have a press conference even if she insulted us. She hasn’t done one for months and months, which is something Donald Trump himself noted,” she said on “CBS This Morning.”
“She’s just not that comfortable in that setting.”