Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Asia without reporters

Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 10, 2017

President Trump dodged inquiries from the press again on Friday, as administration officials continue to shield him from reporters.

Following a late morning appearance by Trump in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, where he reiterated his support for the House Republicans’ effort to replace Obamacare, the president did not respond to multiple questions shouted by reporters.

An official entered the room shortly thereafter and “began yelling loudly” for reporters to clear out, according to a White House “pool” report that detailed the event.

A pool allows a small group of reporters to stand in for the press corps at large to accommodate space limitations. They are used frequently in Washington media.

The official was later identified as Keith Schiller, Trump’s former private security chief who now acts as director of Oval Office operations. Schiller “loudly thanked” the reporters gathered “and directed them to exit the room,” according to the pool report.

In response to the pool, a spokeswoman said only that the “staff asked the press to leave the room” and declined to comment further. (A White House spokeswoman did not respond to CNNMoney’s request for comment.)

Trump canceled two open press events this week, a decision his team chalked up to limited space.

Many reporters were skeptical of that explanation, given that the White House pool is small. Trump held one open press event on Thursday, but he managed to avoid engaging the press. When one reporter asked him about Wikileaks’ CIA dump, Trump smiled and did not respond.

Journalists have been left with similar frustrations over a lack of access and engagement with other administration officials.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Asia without reporters, a departure from precedent that prompted Washington bureau chiefs from several major news organizations — including CNN — to send a letter in protest to the State Department.

At a photo-op earlier this week, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell shouted several questions to Tillerson. Like Trump, Tillerson simply ignored them.

— CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.