Trump summoned reporters to an event on his tax scam, but refused to take any questions and instead spent a long time listening to praise of himself.
The White House press corps was summoned to the Rose Garden Thursday to cover an event that turned out to be a lengthy self-congratulatory display over taxes, and he refused to answer any questions from the media.
The event was bill as an “open press” event for Trump to “give remarks” on the Republican tax bill.
What really transpired was a repeat of so many White House events.
Trump spoke at length, claiming credit for the legislation passing because he supposedly advised fellow Republicans on how to market it.
He didn’t mention that the bill was never popular, and that in polls since its passage, the tax cuts that were heavily tilted toward the super-rich haven’t gained traction with middle class voters.
After his self-aggrandizing remarks, Trump invited several guests who were standing on stage with him to praise him. They obliged, and repeatedly thanked him for the tax bill.
Outside of the White House, however, Americans repeatedly have said they are seeing little to no impact from the legislation.
At the event’s conclusion, despite the press in place that he had gathered there in the Rose Garden, Trump refused to take any questions from the media.
He ignored one shouted question about his public musings on firing Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, seen as a path toward stopping special counsel Robert Mueller. He ignored another question about Mueller as well.
Trump has only held one formal solo press conference for his entire time in office, the least of any president in modern times. Both of his immediate predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, held multiple press conferences in their first year.
More recently, Trump quickly exited a White House event touted as a “press availability” after only two questions were asked.
The event held at taxpayer expense boiled down to Trump taking advantage of a spring day in Washington, D.C., to go outside on the White House grounds and listen to a few people praise him.
He didn’t propose or advocate for anything new, and he didn’t allow any reporters to question him about policy or any of the numerous scandals enveloping his presidency.
Like so much else with Trump, it was a meaningless show for an audience of one.