The ‘Trump bump’: Why so many White House reporters are pregnant

WASHINGTON — For the second year in a row, the number of pregnancies in the Trump White House press quarters defies all norms. Call it the “Trump bump” — a sign of journalist fecundity that should be the envy of fertility clinics.

In the tight working space and 49-seat James S. Brady briefing room that surround what used to be the White House swimming pool, proof abounds.

CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang is due in January. New York Post reporter Marisa Schultz is showing.

The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker is on maternity leave. Laura Figueroa of Newsday just returned from maternity leave.

NPR’s Tamara Keith, CBN’s Jennifer Wishon, CNN’s Pamela Brown, Fox News’ Kristin Fisher, CGTN’s Jessica Stone and NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe had babies during Trump’s first two years.

There are others as well, including a publicity-shy reporter and those not yet showing.

This much is clear to Stone, a second-time mother covering her second president: “I’ve never seen as many moms at the same time” within the press confines.

Behind the boom

What explains the briefing room baby boom?

Start with a group of professional women whose careers are in a secure moment as they feel their biological clocks ticking.

Add a short window — between the 2016 and 2020 election cycles — to conceive and bring a child into the world.

“We are political journalists who make family planning decisions around election cycles,” Keith said.

And then there is, as Jiang recognized, the fact that the job is “stressful.” So, she added wryly, “There’s more de-stressing.”

What’s it like to cover the Trump White House when you’re doing everything for two?

“I’ve been pregnant the whole time,” Jiang confided about her tenure covering the White House. In the early days, she said, “there were times when I forgot I was pregnant.”

Figueroa recalls more of a slog — morning sickness, fatigue, aches and pains — during her first two trimesters. At times she would have to stand for as long as 90 minutes before and during what used to be daily White House briefings.

When she wasn’t showing, who would even think to offer her a seat?

And it’s not as if competitors are quick to offer up their coveted chairs. At one point, Ronica Cleary, then with Fox 5, tweeted, “Most days I don’t mind, but today I’m less than enthusiastic about the nature of a room full of people who avoid offering a seat to a woman who is 37½ weeks pregnant.”

No hiding the bump

Jiang announced her pregnancy shortly after she asked Trump a question at a New York news conference in September. There was no hiding the bump. As Jiang repeatedly pressed Trump about accusations that he had sexually harassed multiple women, he told her to “sit down.”

Jiang used the moment to announce her pregnancy to the public on social media. In the same tweet she said she can’t wait to teach her daughter that “when a man orders you to ‘sit down’ because he doesn’t like what you’re saying, do anything but:).”

During a recent conversation in the CBS news pod, Jiang noted, “I was glad (Trump) didn’t treat me different from the other reporters.”

“It’s harder than you think it will be,” NPR’s Keith said. And yet, there is cause for boasting.

“I have pumped on Air Force One,” Keith said. How many people can say that?

There’s camaraderie in the new motherhood.

Keith put together a list of instructions for breast pumping in the White House, where the pump room doubles as office space for CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network. If a CBN staffer is in the space, the nursing mom asks that person to leave.

Keith scoffed at any hint that she expects sympathy: “There are people with hard jobs and inflexible hours. This is not a hardship post. We’re lucky to have these jobs.”

“If you’re working on an assembly line, it’s probably a lot harder” to pump, she added.

Are male journalists supportive?

Reuters’ Steve Holland, who has covered five presidents, deadpanned, “There’s such a baby boom going on at the White House press corps that we are always on standby for delivering a baby if necessary. It would be a new theme for us, but hey, we’re open to the challenge.”

If there’s a downside, it’s that while you’re having a baby, you’re missing the story.

“It’s kind of nice to be back,” said Figueroa as she recalled feeding her daughter and watching cable news. Now, she said, she doesn’t feel as if she is missing the action anymore.

Unplugging

Like Jiang, CNN’s Pamela Brown was pregnant when she got the White House gig, and she credits supportive network for getting her through the rough patches — most notably insomnia. But Brown said she didn’t plan her pregnancy to bypass the presidential campaign season and noted that “there’s no right time to have a baby.”

And, Brown said, once she did have her baby, she “unplugged totally.”

“I was so excited about being a mom that I didn’t care about anything else but my baby,” she said.

It turns out not following the news nonstop wasn’t really a problem. With the Trump White House, “so much changes every day, it didn’t really matter,” Brown said. “If I had to do it all over again, I would handle it the same way.”

After having her second child last December, Anne Walters, a now-former German press agency dpa reporter, decided to stay home with her two children.

“It felt very much like going from 120 mph to 0 mpg overnight,” she noted in an email. “But I feel really blessed to have gotten the chance to cover an amazing beat and also be with my kids this season.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

News Videos
Henderson fails to investigate the drug overdose death of one of its officers
Henderson Police Department's internal affairs did not investigate the 2014 drug overdose death of an officer. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Syphilis Awareness Day
Dr. Joe Iser, District Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, discusses the effects and issues with syphilis in the Las Vegas community on April 16, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas diocese IDs 33 ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse
The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas released a list on Friday of 33 “credibly accused” of sexual abuse who at some point served in the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD Arbor View meeting
The Clark County School Board hears from the public about racial tensions at Arbor View High School on Thursday, April 11, 2019. (Amelia Park-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Parents of autistic student battle Clark County School District
Joshua and Britten Wahrer, parents of a special education student, are battling the Clark County School District for the right to equip their son with a monitoring device. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Metro homeless outreach a shift in strategy
Lt. Joe Sobrio discusses the new homeless outreach team for Metro. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prayer for Opportunity Scholarships
Las Vegas students and adults hold a prayer meeting about the Opportunity Scholarship program on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Solar scams on the rise in Nevada
As Nevada’s solar industry has made a resurgence, solar scammers have followed suit.
Clark County schools and the late bus issue
Year after year, late or no-show buses in the Clark County School District draw the ire of parents and students alike. One year the problem even prompted a parent to crack a school bus window in frustration over a late drop-off. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 southbound congested near Primm Sunday afternoon
Drivers heading toward California on Interstate 15 should expect heavy traffic and a 13-mile backup Sunday afternoon.
Learning lifesaving skills in advance of fire season
Students and firefighters attend a training session at Fire Station 80 in Blue Diamond, Saturday, March 30, 2019. The training session helps volunteer firefighters obtain necessary annual certification to work wild fires.
Car restoration behind prison walls
Inmates share their experiences working for the Southern Desert Correctional Center auto body shop in Indian Springs while learning valuable skills.
Parent remembers Las Vegas boy killed by car
People visit a memorial at the intersection of South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue at at Faiss Park Wednesday, March 27, 2019, where Jonathan Smith, 12, of Las Vegas, died after he was struck while crossing Fort Apache Monday. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Couple left with surprise medical bills after visit to the hospital
Michael Pistiner took his wife, Marta Menendez-Pistiner, to the ER in January after she fainted twice and appeared to be having a seizure. Despite paying $856 monthly for health insurance, the two, self-employed musicians, were stuck with more than $5,700 in hospital and doctor bills after than hour-and-a-half visit. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Las Vegas police brief the media on fatal crash
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Nick Farese addresses the media about a car accident at South Fort Apache Road and West Arby Avenue that left one minor dead and one hospitalized on Monday, March 25, 2019. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Arbor View parent talks about racial issues at the school
Lawanna Calhoun, a former Arbor View parent, talks about the state of the school. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
Politics Videos
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 race
Candidates for Las Vegas City Council Ward 1. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O’Rourke campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke addresses attendees during a campaign stop at Arandas Taqueria in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O'Rourke House Party in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke delivered a message of unity inside a Las Vegas living room Saturday night, outlining a mission to bridge the divide in a polarized America and rally behind “big defining ambitions that we have in common.” (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks at Atomic Liquors
Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks to her supporters at Atomic Liquors.
Presidential candidate Gillibrand meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys at her first stop in Nevada as a candidate Thursday, March 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto promotes the Rebuild America’s Schools Act
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., co-sponsor of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, speaks at Hoggard Elementary School in Las Vegas to promote the bill that would provide $100 billion for infrastructure improvements at schools across the country. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Scholar Max Eden on how restorative justice decreases student achievement - VIDEO
Across the country, restorative justice is lowering test scores and increasing the number of students who feel unsafe at schools. That’s according to Max Eden, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, who recently released a study discipline reform.
NV Dems Want To Gut Read By Three - Video
Nevada’s students have a major problem. They aren’t very good at reading. In 2017, just 31 percent of fourth graders were proficient at reading according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. The number proficient falls to 28 percent in eighth grade. Read by Three could change that. If a student can’t read at grade level by the end of third grade, he repeats the grade.
Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard stumps in Las Vegas
Presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, holds a meet and greet at the Asian Culture Center in downtown Las Vegas Monday, March 18, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nye County pushes back against state gun bill
Gun store owner Robby Brentlinger and John Koenig, Chairman of the Nye County Board of Commissioners, discuss their thoughts on gun rights and Nevada Senate Bill 143. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday.
Atkinson pleads guilty to wire fraud charges
U.S. Attorney’s Office announces plea deal for charges against former Nevada Senate majority leader Kelvin Atkinson during a press conference on Monday, March 11, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday, less than a week after resigning from his post. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Jay Inslee talks climate change in Las Vegas
Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee spoke about climate change at the at the Nevada Conservation League offices in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 9, 2019.
Melania Trump Speaks Out About Opioid Epidemic - VIDEO
Melania Trump speaks at the Westgate hotel about the Opioid epidemic in the United State and how this generation can be the group that ends it.
Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson to resign
Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson is expected to resign Tuesday amid accusations that he misused campaign funds for personal use.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaks at North Las Vegas high school
Nevada Legislative Session Preview: Education, Yucca Mountain and Microchips
The Nevada Legislature will be meeting to look at new bills that involve education and marriage age restrictions. Governor Sisolak has also requested to meet with the White House about the plutonium shipments sent to Nevada.
Cortez Masto, Rosen For Infanticide - VIDEO
If an abortionist — armed with scissors, clamps and a vacuum cleaner — can’t kill a baby while she’s still in the womb, he shouldn’t get another chance after she’s born. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen disagree.
Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker campaigns in North Las Vegas
Presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Cory Booker campaigned in North Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon, speaking to an audience of about 250 people that included his mother. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown visits Culinary Union 226
Speaking at a union hall Saturday in Las Vegas, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown promised to be the most pro-union candidate in the race if he decides to run for president. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Abortion Bill Would Decriminalize Causing A Pregnant Woman To Miscarry - VIDEO
If abortion advocates believed their own rhetoric, they’d oppose the Trust Nevada Women Act.
Las Vegas city council candidate Diaz talks about Badlands, public safety and homelessness
The residents of Las Vegas’ Ward 3 aren’t thinking about the development issues surrounding Badlands golf course. They do, however, want more neighborhood police patrols to increase public safety. Other jurisdictions should help the City of Las Vegas with its growing homelessness population. That’s according to former Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz who’s running for the Ward 3 city council seat.
Nevada State Senate Looks At Red Light Cameras - VIDEO
The Nevada State Senate looks at a bill that will add red light cameras to all of the traffic lights in Las Vegas.
Sen. Warren, 2020 presidential candidate, visits Nevada
Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke to Nevada voters today, elaborating on her campaign platform for the 2020 presidential election. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gun control lawyer recommends skirting federal law
Faced with a difficult question about the background check bill, a lawyer for Everytown for Gun Safety recommended violating federal law.
Nevada State Legislature meets for first time In 2019 - VIDEO
Colton Lochhead and Bill Dentzer go over the historic first day of the Nevada State Legislation meeting.
Republicans shouldn't participate In union giveaways
Democrats have full control in Carson City, and they’re eager to reward their union allies with power and costly perks. Gov. Steve Sisolak has already promised to give collective bargaining to state workers. Democrats are also eager to roll back the modest collective bargaining reforms passed in 2015. They pushed through a bill repealing those reforms in 2017, but then-governor Brian Sandoval vetoed it.
White explains why he’s working to recall Seroka
Laborers Local 872 wants to recall Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Seroka over his opposition to development at the Badlands Golf Course. Local 872 secretary-treasurer Tommy White says that effort is doing “fantastic” and hinted they may organize more recalls in the future. White also said that while his union has endorsed Republicans, he doesn’t think it will endorse President Donald Trump.
Sisolak Wants To Undo Sandoval's Education Legacy - VIDEO
Over the next two years, Gov. Steve Sisolak plans to gut and eliminate Brian Sandoval’s major education reforms. It’s all to benefit the government unions who backed his campaign.
Sisolak proposes record spending - VIDEO
Nevada’s growing economy and the largest tax hike in Nevada history, passed just four years ago, have given Sisolak record amounts to spend. And spend he does, seeking to increase the state budget by over 10 percent or around $900 million.
Saunders on the shutdown, SOTU and Democrat presidential candidates - VIDEO
The White House is committed to the shutdown fight, but missing out on delivering the State of the Union would pain President Donald Trump. One of Trump’s 2020 challengers, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a flawed presidential candidate. That’s all according to Debra Saunders, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s White House correspondent.
Governor Steve Sisolak Talks Minimum Wage, Teacher Pay and the Cannabis Industry - VIDEO
Newly elected Governor Steve Sisolak talks with Review-Journal reporters about increasing the minimum wage, Nevada's budget for 2019 and increasing teacher's pay.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing