U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is headed to Asia where he will visit South Korea, Japan, and China on his first big trip as since he took his new position. Typically the press flies on the same plane as the Secretary of State. But breaking with decades of precedent the State Department informed the press that it would not be accommodating them because of the size of the plane. They then offered one seat to a reporter from a conservative news outlet, Erin McPike from Independent Journal Review (IJR).
Representatives from the press were outraged at the slight and made clear that they expected the same access as McPike once Tillerson landed in Asia.
As to the change in planes, according to Reuters Department of State spokesman Mark Toner said following:
“We’ve been very clear, frankly, that this is a smaller footprint all around, and this is the Secretary’s decision, to travel with a smaller footprint. To some degree, it’s a cost-saving measure.”
News organizations that travel with U.S. officials pay the U.S. government for the cost of their air fare.
It might make sense if they can’t afford a bigger plane for Melania Trump to move into the White House and stop costing the American Taxpayer and estimated 300,000-500,000 dollars a day for her to live in New York. That would save millions of dollars and the Secretary of State might actually behave like previous ones that provided access to the press.
Even when the press travels with a member of the administration they pay their own way.