For nearly a decade, I’ve had a front-row seat for some of the biggest battles in Washington. As a reporter covering the White House, it’s my job to chronicle the president—and there’s certainly been no shortage of news on that front.
Since joining The Daily Signal in June, I’ve embraced the opportunity to stray from the pack and report stories most of the White House press corps either don’t care about or just plain ignore.
Such was the case this July. Many religious freedom and free-speech advocates—as well as Donald Trump—were advocating repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a law that restricts speech by churches. The GOP even supported its repeal in the party platform.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t getting much attention from the mainstream media. So I decided to ask White House press secretary Josh Earnest about it. And although Earnest stated that President Barack Obama would oppose such a repeal, The Daily Signal was there to report on it.
A week later, I was back in the briefing room to ask about the Democratic Party platform, which included a plank to scrap the Hyde Amendment, essentially meaning taxpayers would fund abortions.
This was a complicated matter for the pro-choice Obama administration because in 2010, the president applied the principle of the Hyde Amendment in an executive order to persuade uneasy Democrats to vote for Obamacare. White House spokesman Eric Schultz told me Obama’s position hadn’t changed—he supported it, even though his party wanted to abandon it.
You probably didn’t read about that conflict in other media outlets. That’s because The Daily Signal is always striving for a unique angle or news of interest to people like you.
There are other examples of why a White House press pass is important. Such was the case when I asked Earnest if he would defend Obama’s claim that it’s easier to obtain a gun than a book—an assessment even left-leaning fact-checkers called false. (Earnest did defend it, by the way.)
A big part of The Daily Signal’s role in the media landscape is reporting stories others don’t and asking substantive policy questions (not gotcha questions) that others won’t.
Over the past six months, I’ve had an opportunity to report how Obama is seeking to lock the United States into international agreements. I revealed how he’s moving political appointees into civil service jobs to carry on his agenda after Trump takes office. And I wrote about the government audit showing the Obama administration’s prioritizing political appointees over veterans for federal jobs.
Having previously covered the White House for CNSNews.com and TheBlaze, I can say it isn’t entirely easy and requires building rapport. Along the way, I’ve explained if I wasn’t interested in both sides of a story, there would be little point in showing up at the White House.
There’s no doubt that things will be different on Jan. 20, but The Daily Signal will continue to be in the White House briefing room to ask the same tough questions of Trump.
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