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A “lid” is what White House press secretaries use to indicate that there will be no news coming out of the White House that day.

A presidential campaign can also call a lid when their candidate does not plan any more public events or appearances for the rest of the day.

It can also be called a “full lid.”

A “lid” can be called at any time of the day and is an important signal for journalists, photographers, and other members of the press corps who need to know whether they will need to cover any more events that day.

Once a lid is called, reporters know that they will not miss any significant happenings by leaving the White House premises or turning their attention to other stories.

However, it’s important to note that calling a lid does not necessarily mean that the President’s workday is over or that no more newsworthy events will happen that day.

The President may still have private meetings, phone calls, or other activities that are not open to the press.

Additionally, a lid is not an absolute guarantee: in rare circumstances, the lid may be “lifted” if there is a significant event or development.

The practice of calling a lid reflects the complex relationship between the White House and the press.

On one hand, the White House has a responsibility to keep the public informed about the President’s activities and the administration’s policies, and the press plays a crucial role in conveying this information.

On the other hand, the President and their staff also need time and space to work without constant media scrutiny, and certain activities and discussions need to remain private for reasons of security or diplomacy.

Although the term has been around for decades, it was popularized by fictional Press Secretary C.J. Cregg on TV show The West Wing.


Use of “Lid” in a sentence

  • Despite the unfolding international crisis, the White House called a “lid” at noon, indicating that no further public statements would be issued for the rest of the day.
  • After a busy morning of public appearances and briefings, the White House press secretary announced a “lid,” allowing the press corps to wrap up their coverage for the day.
  • Critics raised questions when the White House called an unusually early “lid,” speculating about what the President might be dealing with behind closed doors.