At Long Last, a Full House in the White House Briefing Room

by Philip Wegmann
Real Clear Politics

The two-minute warning had just been given when a voice came over the intercom in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, requesting that reporters please not stand in the aisles. No one listened, and no one left.

For the first time since March 16, 2020, all of the 49 blue theater seats were filled. The aisles to the left and the right, the ones that the disembodied voice wanted cleared, remained crowded. The briefing room was back to capacity on Monday afternoon, a pandemic mile marker for the capital city.

Looking out at all the faces, hardly any of them masked, White Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that she was “very thrown off to where everyone is seated.” A year and a half ago, so was the former president.

While the rest of the country went through lockdowns, the White House press corps never did, at least not fully. They went on rotation. To keep the briefings from being shut down, the White House Correspondents’ Association agreed to limit the number of reporters in the room.

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