Trump Chickens Out on Facing Reporters After Release of Mueller Report
After teasing a possible press conference after the Mueller report’s release, President Trump departed the White House for Mar-a-Lago without taking questions from reporters on Thursday afternoon.
Trump had been hinting he would face the White House press corps since Wednesday afternoon, when he told talk-radio host Larry O’Connor during an interview that he might hold a press conference after Bill Barr held his own on Thursday morning. Cable news networks reported for much of Thursday that Trump was expected to address reporters at some point before his scheduled 4 P.M. departure for his Florida club.
So it was quite a surprise when Trump and wife Melania emerged from the White House and walked across the lawn to their helicopter without getting anywhere near the assembled reporters. Though he did manage to flash a thumbs-up on the way:
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) April 18, 2019
Trump did not stop and take questions before departing from the South Lawn today. This after he said he might have a press conference today.
— Julia E. Ainsley (@JuliaEAinsley) April 18, 2019
Pres Trump waves to press but waves off questions being shouted at him as he walks to board Marine One. pic.twitter.com/vrLvPU1mD0
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 18, 2019
And there were a lot of reporters set up hoping to hear from Trump, as April Ryan noted.
So for the moment, we can only speculate. Did Trump not stop to talk because he’s pleased with the pushback from the rest of his team and doesn’t feel the need to add to it? Did he tease a press conference just to make sure the press got video of him walking across the South Lawn looking relaxed? Was he simply in a hurry to get to Florida and hit the links?
Whatever the reason, his only public comments on the day of the report’s release came at a White House event for wounded veterans, when he repeated his usual mantra of “No collusion, no obstruction,” adding that an investigation like this “should never happen to another president again.”
Presumably, though, he’ll speak publicly at some point, even if it is just a rant on his Twitter feed.
Watch Trump’s stroll to Marine One at the top of the post, via PBS.