Media outlets and some senators protested Tuesday when reporters were told they would be blocked from doing on-camera interviews at the Capitol building.
But U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, said the Senate Rules Committee’s proposed policy change toward reporters – which was short lived – could have been motivated by privacy and safety concerns, according to comments quoted in The Hill.
“There are a couple of examples where, number one, folks have been at ATM machines and folks who have been using cameras – I want to keep my PIN private,” Scott told reporters. “Number two, if you're tripping over cords if you're walking out, that's a problem.”
Still, Scott said he supported reporters’ right to conduct interviews and access the Capitol. “Overall, you guys deserve the access necessary to do your job so that the American people are informed.”
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Scott’s office reiterated that stance later in the day.
“He’s not lying awake at night concerned about ATMs, which would be ridiculous, but rather how to ensure every family across South Carolina and the nation have the opportunity to succeed and achieve the American Dream,” said Scott’s communications director Sean Smith.
The move came as Senate Republicans are in the process of drafting a bill that would repeal the Obama-era health care law, although no details of the bill have yet been released.
Later Tuesday, Rules Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said he was planning “no changes to the existing rules governing press coverage.”