President Barack Obama did not release the names of every visitor to his White House, so President Donald Trump will not release any at all.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday that President Donald Trump’s predecessor “scrubbed” the logs of names they did not want to be made public, and therefore that there was no reason to release any list of visitor names.
“This is the policy that’s existed from the beginning of time since [logs] were kept through the last [administration], and that last one was a faux attempt,” Spicer said. “They would scrub whoever they didn’t want to put out.”
The decision not to release White House visitor logs was made last week.
Publicly posted Obama White House logs were indeed missing the names of thousands of visitors, including a number of lobbyists and campaign donors. But they did include the names of tens of thousands of guests in entries that informed a number of critical stories about the administration, including some by the most vocal Trump supporters in media.
Spicer cited the Obama White House’s omissions to defend the current administration’s decision to keep the public entirely in the dark about the individuals meeting with top White House staff.
The White House promised that visitor logs would be forthcoming on a since-deleted page of its website. On Friday, it announced that it was scrapping transparency data tools used by the previous administration and abandoning plans to release similar visitor logs.
Spicer told reporters that Americans have a right to make their voice heard at the White House without their identities, or the names of officials hearing their concerns, being publicly listed.
“We recognized that there’s a privacy aspect to allowing citizens to come and express their views,” Spicer said. “There’s an opportunity for the American people who want to have a conversation and be able to share their view” to do so without being publicly identified.