According to an email sent by organizers of the Trump press pool, the campaign said it was the Secret Service's decision to remove the press pool from the motorcade as their resources are being stretched too thin amid a "heightened state of security" to keep the press' plane clean.
"We have communicated that this is an issue that the campaign should have spotted long ago and are vigorously protesting the decision," an email from the pool chairs said. "We have told the campaign that if they are truly committed to transparency, than [sic] they should place the pool on Trump's plane so it is a truly protective pool. They have not been responsive to that request."
On Monday, the journalists following Trump began to fly on a new "chase" plane which would more closely follow Trump's plane, and were told they would now travel within the Trump motorcade. The move, which the campaign said was in the works for weeks, was expected to help prevent instances such as last week, when Trump's press pool, caught in traffic on the way from a different airport, was late to a Trump rally in New Hampshire. Instead of delaying his rally, Trump mocked the press for being late.
By not being in the motorcade, the pool will have to contend with normal traffic, making it more likely that they could miss or be late to other events. The Trump press pool has been lobbying to travel with Trump on his plane, a move which would solve these logistical problems, and one his campaign has signaled will likely never happen. Nearly all previous presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, have their traveling press corps with them on their planes by this point in the campaign.
The reversal is the latest in a series of events that has seriously frustrated the reporters who cover Trump. From the campaign blacklisting certain outlets, to the candidate himself calling out certain reporters he feels are unfair (NBC's Katy Tur was once escorted out of a rally by Secret Service for her own protection after Trump called her out), the reporters following Trump have had to deal with a seemingly never-ending series of roadblocks.
One of the few positives of Trump's relationship with the media had been that despite the blacklists, he still held many news conferences and gaggles and managed to sit for interviews with a wide range of outlets at any time of day or night. Now those interviews and news conferences have been drastically reduced. Trump has over the past two months mostly stuck to appearances on Fox News, and hasn't held a formal news conference where he takes questions in more than 54 days (he held a small gaggle with reporters on his plane a couple weeks ago). In an ironic contrast, Clinton, who famously went months without a formal news conference has now held several in the past couple of weeks.
Secret Service spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan declined to specify whether it was the campaign or the Secret Service's decision to keep the pool from the motorcade.
"Historically, the Secret Service has not provided resources to maintain the security of a secondary aircraft used for the domestic transport of press," Milhoan said. "In regards to aircraft security, the Secret Service is only responsible for maintaining the integrity of the protectees aircraft and those accompanying him or her on that aircraft."
We've reached out to the Trump campaign for comment and will update here accordingly.
This post has been updated with a statement from the Secret Service.