It was an odd press conference from its opening minutes. Donald Trump, the president of a county with a 10.2 percent unemployment rate and a sweeping pandemic that has so far killed more than 160,000 Americans, was late to a press conference being held at his private golf resort. When he arrived and his name was announced, cheers rose up from the crowd.
Cheers. And a crowd. At a press conference.
.@joyannreid: "Did you just say members of (Trump's) country club … are assembling to play the audience so he can have a cheering audience for this press conference?"@JonLemire: "Joy, that is what it appears."#TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/JxRxuQt9RA
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) August 7, 2020
A group of people who were not part of the White House press corps were clearly in the audience, and MSNBC’s Joy Reid spoke to journalist Jon Lemire prior to the press conference, who told her that members of Trump’s country club were present in the room to cheer for Trump. During a press conference.
While that’s already weird enough, the country really is in the midst of a pandemic. Reporters had not yet been tested for the virus and were being crowded into a room by Trump’s friends from the country club, who yelled and cheered.
White House press pool, upon arriving at Bedminster for the president’s news conference, had our temperatures checked but have not had COVID-19 tests.
And it appears that several dozen country club members just came downstairs to watch Trump
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 7, 2020
One reporter could be heard asking Trump why there were people in the room who didn’t belong there when they were clearly violating New Jersey’s social distancing guidelines. The crowd booed, loudly. They booed a reporter. At a press conference.
Trump snapped back at the reporter that there were exceptions for “political activity,” but that he preferred to think of their presence as a peaceful protest of the fake news media, clearly drawing a connection between his golf club buddies and the Black Lives Matter protesters who have made their voices heard in protest of police brutality against black Americans.
And then he walked out of the room, taking no more questions.
WH Press corps just got booed by the crowd at Trump's Country Club. This is absurd… and deeply depressing.
— Benjamin Byron Davis (@Tooda) August 8, 2020
If one moment of Trump’s presidency could define it all, the rich, white president arriving late to speak to the unemployed and desperate members of his country at his private country club while his rich buddies cheer him and boo reporters pretty much sums it up.
See video of the press conference below.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube