White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer points to a reporter during a press conference as several hands rise up from the crowd of questioning journalists.

At a press briefing at the White House on Monday, April 17, Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended President Trump's decision not to disclose information about who is visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Credit:

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Over President Donald Trump's first 100 days, we're asking him questions that our audience wants answers to. Join the project by tweeting this question to @realDonaldTrump with the hashtag #100Days100Qs.

#87. @realDonaldTrump, why won't you disclose who is visiting the White House? #100Days100Qs

President Trump, why won't you disclose who is visiting the White House?

Last January, then-spokesman for the Republican National Committee Sean Spicer extolled the virtues of transparency during Donald Trump’s transition into the presidency.

“At some point, the level of transparency has exceeded any modern president,” Spicer said in an interview with CNN.

Since then, the curtains over the Oval Office have been drawn a bit closer.

The Trump administration announced last week that it would not release the names of individuals who visit the White House for official business.

The decision — which White House communications director Michael Dubke said was a step to protect both the country’s national security and the privacy of individuals who visit the White House — marks a shift from President Barack Obama’s policy of releasing visitor logs to the public.

At the time, the Obama administration’s release of visitor logs was heralded by advocates for greater transparency in the dealings of the federal government.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who had launched several lawsuits against both the Bush and the Obama administrations in an effort to release details about White House meetings, celebrated Obama for being the first president in history to disclose information about the comings and goings at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Now, President Trump is reverting back to the practice of previous presidents who withheld that information from the public during their time in office. 

When reporters grilled White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday about Trump’s move to keep the lid on White House visitor logs, he suggested that transparency could get in the way of the president’s ability to do his job.

Lack of transparency does indeed seem to be a consistent strategy in the Trump administration’s playbook.

In the first 100 days of his presidency, Trump has drawn criticism for refusing to disclose who he does business with at Mar-a-Lago; for not making clear the relationship of Trump’s appointees to lobbying firms; for being the first president not to release his tax returns; for not disclosing how often or with whom he is playing golf; for the murky relationships of his associates with Russian officials; and even for deleting his tweets.

Despite all of this, President Trump, members of your team continue to claim that your administration is dedicated to transparency in governing. Given the many aspects of your presidency that remain under wraps, why won't you disclose who is visiting the White House? Click here to tweet the question to the president.

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