Trump's off-the-record cocktail party with reporters draws criticism

An off-the-record gathering between President-elect Donald Trump and members of the media earned criticism and sparked debate over whether journalists were pushing Trump enough to make himself available on-the-record.

On Sunday, some high-profile reporters and 2016 presidential campaign embeds schmoozed with Trump and members of his transition team at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, drinking and posing for individual and group pictures with the president-elect, who attended for a half-an-hour.

The online backlash to the meeting was swift after Mike Allen, former Politico reporter and founder of Axios, posted a photo from the party:

Though it is hardly uncommon for the president or their staff to meet with reporters off-the-record, many observers took issue with journalists attending the meeting despite Trump's refusal to hold a traditional press conference.

Reactions to Trump's off-the-record cocktail party with reporters
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Reactions to Trump's off-the-record cocktail party with reporters
@xeni @tdopp @MichaelLinhorst @mikeallen when journalists kowtow the most powerful it shows how little they care to hear from powerless
@mikeallen lol in all seriousness though this is terribly embarrassing for you & everyone in this photo should be ashamed. happy holidays!
The 2017 cast of The Authoritarian Apprentice
Reminder that some people are journalists because they worship power in any form and need to be adjacent to it
Reporters shouldn't pal around off-the-record with Trump until he agrees to have a public, on-the-record news confe…
Trump hasn't had a press conference in 143 days. But he's now had a private press confab.
for those keeping score at home: it's been 143 days since trump's last press conference.
And who don't answer questions on the record.
Obama did OTRs, too. Problem is if Trump isn't also answering questions on the record. And he hasn't held a press c…

Despite criticizing Hillary Clinton the campaign trail for refusing to speak to reporters, Trump himself has not held a press conference in 144 days, breaking the custom for presidents-elect to hold press conferences several days after the election.

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman did not criticize the meeting, but pointed out that a similar off-the-record dinner in 2015 hosted by Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta drew the ire of a number of Trump supporters and Trump-friendly media outlets.

Others lamented Trump's frequent demonization of the press, noting how he often uses the traveling press pool as a punchline or a target at rallies.

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