White House cancels press briefing, citing snow-related federal closures

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The White House on Monday announced it will not hold its daily press briefing due to the closure of federal offices prompted by snowy weather across the Washington, D.C., area.

The National Weather Service on Monday morning issued a winter storm warning for the District of Columbia and adjacent counties in Maryland and Virginia. The warning, which will remain in effect until 4 p.m., cautioned that snow accumulations across the District, the Washington metropolitan area and parts of Northern Virginia could total 5 to 10 inches.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management on Sunday night announced that federal offices in the nation’s capital would be closed on Monday because of the snow storm. As a result, “there will be no press briefing today,” the White House said in a statement circulated by a pool reporter on Monday morning.

Although the White House Covid-⁠19 Response Team and federal public officials have conducted briefings in recent days, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has not faced the press since Dec. 23, when she took questions from reporters ahead of the holidays.

The federal closures on Monday are hardly the first time official Washington has ground to a halt on account of inclement weather. Then-President Barack Obama memorably scolded the city’s snow-related school day cancellations in 2009, remarking that classrooms would have remained open in his hometown of Chicago.

“Are you saying these guys are wimps?” one reporter asked the president. Obama responded: “I’m saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.”

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