NEW YORK—United States President-elect Donald Trump’s refusal of a longstanding protocol to allow journalists to travel with him for meetings with President Obama today is a warning sign for the future of press freedom, PEN America said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, news organizations had been for weeks trying to arrange a press pool to travel with Trump in the instance that he won the general election.  His campaign did not cooperate, and continued to refuse to make arrangements for today’s meeting.

“Trump’s decision to exclude reporters from his campaign plane en route to essential discussions on the nation’s transition is a warning sign when it comes to the transparency we can expect from the incoming Administration,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America. “We urge President-elect Trump to ensure that the press has the access necessary to play its key role at a pivotal time of change for this country.”

The Trump campaign has been notorious for seemingly arbitrary and punitive limitations on press access. In the lead up to the election, Trump banned more than a half dozen significant news outlets from covering him or attending his campaign events as media representatives. In the last several months, the President-elect and his family have also threatened to sue several media organizations, including The New York Times and Politico.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Sarah Edkins, Deputy Director for Communications: [email protected], +1 646.779.4830