SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

Trump's press 'briefing' that wasn't

It was a quiet afternoon at the White House toward the end of a four-day week. Network correspondents were p...

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 4:29 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 4:29 AM

It was a quiet afternoon at the White House toward the end of a four-day week. Network correspondents were preparing for their evening newscasts, cameramen were scattered throughout the briefing room and outside, some reporters had stepped out for coffee.

Minutes after 4:00 p.m., a voice came on the overhead speaker announcing that press secretary Sarah Sanders would hold a briefing in "five minutes."

The scramble was on.

For a White House that has held increasingly rare briefings, the short notice was unusual yet not surprising. And as the press appearances have shrunk, the importance of each opportunity to ask questions has increased.

Still photographers ran to secure their spots. Television camera crews and audio technicians rushed to turn on, focus and color balance cameras and wire up correspondents for live shots. The White House audiovisual staff turned the podium microphones on and the lights up at the last minute.

And when Sanders took the podium, instead of taking questions she introduced a "very special guest" -- the President of the United States.

"Hello, everybody, beautiful place, I haven't seen it," President Donald Trump said as he walked in, wishing the press assembled a happy new year.

Thursday marked Trump's first official appearance at the briefing room podium nearly two years into his administration. But despite being billed as a press briefing, and taking place in the briefing room, Trump did not deliver a briefing (he took no questions) and instead gave a statement pressing for his border wall.

His visit was such a surprise that the podium wasn't dressed with a presidential seal. Journalists were still filling in seats in around the back of the briefing room, which is normally packed and standing room only for briefings, as the President began to speak.

He offered his warm congratulations to newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, praising what he called her "tremendous, tremendous achievement."

On the first day of divided government during his administration, Trump cited infrastructure as one area where the White House could work with the Democratic-controlled House. Then, Trump made a push for his border wall, introducing some members of the National Border Patrol Council and National ICE Council.

The remarks came on the 13th day of a partial government shutdown as Democrats have officially taken control of the House and negotiations to fund the government have reached a stalemate due to ongoing disputes about border security and wall funding. The White House won't say whether the President would accept a funding package with less than $5 billion for a border wall, but leadership from both parties in Congress are expected to meet with the President at the White House Friday morning.

The President said he had been sitting in the Oval Office with the border patrol agents in a previously scheduled meeting and decided he wanted to "see the press" so the agents could "tell them about the importance of the wall."

"First time I've ever done this. The first time I've done it, and I've done it for you (the National Border Patrol Council members). And I'm very proud of it," he said.

Trump refused to take questions about the government shutdown, walking out of the briefing room along with the border patrol agents, Sanders, communications director Bill Shine and social media director Dan Scavino, a mere eight minutes after entering.

One reporter, who had gotten word of the briefing but was across town on Capitol Hill, rushed back across Pennsylvania Avenue, but missed it altogether.

"It was over before I even got there," the reporter texted.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
99° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 99°
Oroville
Clear
100° wxIcon
Hi: 103° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 100°
Paradise
Few Clouds
99° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 99°
Chester
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 86°
Red Bluff
Clear
100° wxIcon
Hi: 103° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 100°
Willows
Few Clouds
99° wxIcon
Hi: 105° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 99°
A hot week will transform into an even hotter weekend over northern California as high pressure stays in control of our weather. No rain is in the forecast, but it will cool a bit by late next week.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events