US President Donald Trump faced the White House press corps today as controversy swirled around his administration – from a pair of TV screens with a piped-in recording that kept the press from asking questions.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced at the top of the daily press briefing that she had a "special guest" – as cable networks carried the briefing live amid an onslaught of revelations from a new bombshell book about White House intrigue.
Then, Trump's face appeared on two large high-definition TV screens placed on either side of the podium, and began saluting the"'historic tax cut" that just became law, the Daily Mail reports.
Reporters were forced to sit and watch even as they salivated to ask questions about new revelations from Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The Oval Office is just steps from the briefing room, so Trump could have popped by if he wanted to speak to reporters.
President Obama and other predecessors occasionally have done so - as Obama did when he surprised reporters by revealing a copy of his Certificate of Live Birth after Trump had repeatedly questioned his US citizenship.
When the presentation ended, it was Sanders, not Trump, who took questions about the book, which she said was "full of lies".
Trump said: "The historic tax cut I signed into law just two weeks ago before Christmas is already delivering major economic gain."
He continued: "Hundreds of thousands of Americans are seeing larger paychecks, bigger bonuses and higher pension contribution, and it's all because of the tax cuts and the tax reform."
Trump was wearing a different tie in the video than he sported earlier in the day, indicating it was recorded.
Trump did respond to the press earlier in the Roosevelt Room, when he took a shot at former aide Steve Bannon and then told reporters "thank you" as they got ushered out of the room.