Access for reporters at the Capitol was limited Tuesday in the wake of protests outside the Senate chamber during President Trump’s appearance last week.
When Vice President Mike Pence entered the building to attend the Senate Republicans’ weekly policy lunches, reporters were barred from accessing most of the second floor outside the Senate chamber and near the Mansfield Room, where the lunch takes place.
The move comes after a protester infiltrated the press pen and threw Russian flags in the president’s direction as the entered the Senate GOP lunch last Tuesday. Officers were also asking those passing through the hallways of the Capitol to see credentials and passes.
“The United States Capitol Police have not introduced any changes to the access that the media have within the U.S. Capitol. We are simply enforcing the current rules and protocols already in place to ensure the safety and security of elected officials, members of Congress, staff, visitors, and members of the press," said Eva Malecki, communications director for the Capitol Police.
This is a stark departure from the access previously seen during the lunches, which Pence has been a staple at throughout the first 10 months of the Trump administration.
When the lunch ended and Pence left the room, reporters were kept behind barricades by Capitol Police — another departure from the norm.
During his weekly press conference Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., addressed the new restrictions and said that his office and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will be looking into the situation.
"Obviously, reporters are some of the last people who should face unwarranted restrictions," Schumer said. "My office and the Rules Committee are looking into a remedy as soon as possible."
The Standing Committee of Correspondents is protesting the curtailment.
Susan Ferrechio contributed to this report