Trump White House drops policy of identifying visitors

25 April 2017, 12:59 | Noah Barnes

GETTYMelania Trump has revealed news that she will join husband Donald Trump to live in Washington

Melania Trump and the White House

Tom Udall released the following statement Friday on the Trump administration's decision that it will not release White House visitor logs, breaking with the pro-transparency precedent set by the Obama administration.

The announcement marks a significant shift from the Obama administration which released the names of almost 6 million visitors, including scores of lobbyists.

Mrs. Trump's White House visits have been few and far between since the president's inauguration, and her decision to stay in NY has been widely criticized for costing significant taxpayer money, even prompting a petition demanding that she move to the White House. "With respect to visitors logs, we will comply with both the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act as stated by law". The policy allowed critics of President Obama to question the real transparency of his administration.

"The only reasonable conclusion is to believe the Trump administration has many things it is trying to hide."During the Obama administration, conservative watchdog groups sued the Secret Service, which maintains the records, in an attempt to make unredacted copies publicly available".

Trump entered office pledging to "drain the swamp" and combat corruption in the nation's Capitol.

However, the Obama administration did include records on how many names were withheld, and later released their names once the information was no longer considered sensitive.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

Melania Trump
GETTYMelania Trump will join Donald Trump to live in Washington with their son Barron this summer

One recent visitor to White House grounds recently resulted in a scandal: House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, who went there last month to view classified information.

After news of the Trump administration's decision broke, Bookbinder wrote "it looks like we'll see them in court". White House aides have also provided few details about Trump's activities and meetings during his numerous weekend trips to Florida. After Trump took office, a liberal watchdog group has taken over the fight, filing a lawsuit on Monday demanding the records. The White House cited privacy of visitors as the reason for the new Trump policy.

The policy permitted some exceptions to disclosure, including private visits to the Obama family.

The other aspect of visitor logs is they only cover the White House and other selected government sites.

By comparison, President Obama raised a fraction of that amount - just $1.15 million - during the first three months of his first term in the White House.

In fact, former President Barack Obama's photographer is gaining some traction as one of the internet's favourite Trump-trollers. It was the first administration to make a practice of routinely releasing the information.

"We'll have to get back to you", said Spicer.

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