Reporters Who Cover The White House were stunned this afternoon when they got word of a White House press briefing in five minutes.
What they got was President Donald Trump’s first ever appearance in the press briefing room during which he took no questions. It also marks the first time a Trump White House press secretary has put in a briefing room appearance without taking questions since Sean Spicer’s infamous Largest Inauguration Crowd PERIOD briefing the day after Trump’s inauguration (which drew a smaller crowd than that of President Barack Obama). Today, Sarah Huckabee Sanders took no questions.
Apparently unable to have newly sworn in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi given the spotlight as she became only the second person to hold that title twice, Trump decided to stage this pop-up photo op to tout his Border Wall.
Wishing reporters a Happy New Year, Trump said he wanted to start off by congratulating Pelosi, calling her swearing-in a “very great achievement” and “hopefully we’re going to work together and get a lot of things done, like infrastructure and so much more.”
“I know they want to do that very badly, and so do I,” he said, adding, “I think it’ll be a little different than a lot of people are thinking.”
Then Trump began to pitch his Wall. “People,” he said, have been “extremely supportive of what we’re doing on the border.” Behind him stood members of the National Border Patrol Council, who Trump described as “tough, they’re smart, they think, they love our country.”
“People of our country want it,” Trump said of his Wall. “I’ve never had so much support as I have in the last week for my stance for border security, border control, and for, frankly, the wall or the barrier, in terms of calls coming in, and people, and tweeting.”
He called some of the men forward.
The president of the council said “physical barriers actually work. There are experts who say walls don’t work. If you interview border patrol experts, they say walls work.”
Another came forward to say they support the government shutdown, despite having “skin in the game,” adding “We fully support what he is doing” and, “If I come to your home, do you want me to knock on your front door or climb through that window?”
Another began to talk of the “murderers and rapists that come into the country,” sounding just like Trump the day he announced his candidacy.
Trump then stepped forward to boast that the “economy is bringing people in, because we’re doing so well with the economy” and once again boasted about low unemployment levels.
Trump addressed all that talk about “having drones flying overhead” at the southern border. “Nobody knows more about this type of technology than I do,” Trump insisted. “They’re fine but they do not stop the problem.”
Then he left.