Hillary Clinton on Monday scheduled two TV interviews and flew for the first time this election cycle on a campaign plane that has press corps accommodations — amid criticism that she is increasingly avoiding the news media.
The Democratic presidential nominee’s first trip on the aircraft was from an airport outside her upstate New York home to a rally in Cleveland, Ohio.
“I am so happy to have all of you with me,” Clinton, who has not held a full-fledged press conference in 275 days, told reporters upon boarding the plane. “I have been just waiting for this moment. No, really. And I’ll come back to talk to you.”
Clinton’s last campaign event was Wednesday, at the American Legion’s national convention in Cincinnati, after several days off the trail to fundraise.
She has faced increasing calls to take reporters’ questions following more revelations about the connection between Clinton Foundation donors and the State Department during and after she ran the agency from 2009 to 2013.
More recently, the FBI released notes on the agency’s interview last month with Clinton about her use of a private server while secretary of state for official emails, including three found to have a least some classified information.
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Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continues to fly on private planes, with his press corps traveling on a separate one, with 63 days remaining before Election Day.
“The media is very protective of crooked Hillary,” Trump said during a business roundtable discussion Monday morning in Cleveland. “It is shocking to see what is going on. I sort of enjoy it. People get it. They see what is happening.”
Upon departing, he took questions from reporters on his plane, saying that job creation will be his big campaign message for the day and that he looks forward to the upcoming debates with Clinton.
“They’re an important element in what we’re doing,” said Trump. He also said his plane was not set up to accomodate reporters but that he was open to allowing some onboard as he did Monday.
Clinton and Trump’s respective planes were on the same tarmac Monday at the same time at a Cleveland airport.
The Clinton campaign argues that Clinton has indeed frequently made herself available to reporter questions, citing her taking questions after speaking last month at a National Association of Black Journalists conference in Washington, D.C.
Running-mate Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine on Sunday also argued that Clinton has indeed held press conferences throughout the campaign.
“She’s had hundreds interviews in the last year,” Kaine told ABC, referring to the journalists conference in August. “I’ve got to push back on the notion that she hasn’t done a press conference.”
Clinton did an interview in Ohio with ABC News that is scheduled to air Tuesday and is scheduled to do one later with a CBS TV affiliate from Des Moines, Iowa.
The Clinton campaign says the aircraft is a Boeing 737 with about 100 seats for passengers and crew.
The wings and tail have “H” logos. And the words “Stronger Together” are written in blue letter on each side of the craft. “HillaryClinton.com” is also printed on the sides.
The cabin is divided into four sections – the first for Clinton and top aides, the second for rest of the campaign team, the third for about a dozen Secret Service agents and the fourth for the press corps.
Fox News’ Tamara Gitt contributed to this story.