The White House announced a “press availability” with President Trump this afternoon, providing reporters with a moment of anticipation after a tumultuous week with only a single briefing from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders taking place instead of the usual daily press conferences.
The anticipation turned out to be unfounded after Trump walked out of the “availability” after answering only two questions.
The president briefly allowed reporters to shout questions at him after signing the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress that he only hours earlier had threatened to veto because it did include funding for the border wall he promised his base, but that even border guards say won’t be an effective solution to maintain border security.
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After caving in and signing the bill Trump went on to denounce it, claiming that he only signed it “as a matter of national security” since it adds even more money to the nation’s bloated military budget.
If the president had vetoed the bill, the government would have faced another shutdown, potentially causing the stock market to fall even further after the steep decline yesterday that was attributed to the Trump administration’s announcement of tariffs on China that sparked fears of a mounting trade war.
Trump declared that “I will never sign another bill like this again” after his empty veto threat brought his credibility to new lows.
“There are a lot of things that I’m unhappy about in this bill,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill.”
While there may be a kernel of truth in that statement, chances are good that what Trump thinks shouldn’t be in the spending bill aren’t the same things that most Americans think it shouldn’t include.
Nevertheless after taking two quick questions, Trump walked away as reporters shouted out questions about his extra-marital affairs with a Playboy bunny and a porn star, his appointment of John Bolton as his new national security adviser, the ever-churning investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into collusion and obstruction of justice, and the revolving door in the president’s legal defense team.
Trump won’t be able to avoid questions forever, especially with the 60 Minutes interview of Stormy Daniels scheduled to air this Sunday night. In the meantime, Trump will continue to try to pre-empt questions by tweeting his lies to the public directly, avoiding the fact checks that legitimate reporters would conduct on his answers.