The long awaited White House press briefing did little to silence the concerns and questions swarming around the President’s recent claims around the Mexican wall.
The first press briefing since the Charlottesville chaos, Trump’s announcement of the new Afghanistan strategy, as well as the controversial rally in Arizona earlier this week, anticipation was high that the long-awaited questions would be answered.
The White House press briefing began with Sarah Sanders wishing a few family members a happy birthday, on a light-hearted and amicable tone, before reading out a letter from a child who had written to the President. From then the briefing veered towards the Afghanistan strategy, with Sarah’s voice noticeably cracking at points when she discussed military losses overseas.
“As the president said on Monday, the men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory,” Sanders said. “And once that victory has been achieved, they also deserve to return home to a country that honors their sacrifices and provides our nation’s heroes with the support they’ve earned by risking their lives to ensure the freedoms of all Americans.”
In speaking of the Afghanistan plan at White House press briefing, Sarah reiterated the points Trump had shared when speaking in Yuma earlier this week, focusing on points like “seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made”.
Questions about the President’s relationship with other lawmakers were not met with optimism. When asked about Sen. Bob Corker’s recent critical comments about President Trump, Sarah said it was “A ridiculous and outrageous claim”. Press Secretary Sanders did not sound concerned about Trump and other lawmakers, saying despite policy differences, “I think the relationships are fine.”
When asked, at several points, about the President’s comments on the Mexican wall recently, and how it will be funded, Press Secretary Sarah simply reiterated the rhetoric surrounding how border security and protecting Americans was a huge priority for the President. She commented on how this had been a priority for the President both during his campaign, election, and now with his role as President. Even when asked about the President’s threats of a government shutdown, she repeated the same rhetoric – that this was a huge priority for the President that he remained committed to.
Questions arose regarding how President Trump planned on funding the wall, to which the response was that the President has never said that Mexico “won’t” be paying for the wall. To which the response from the press pool was an audible and distinct, “They have!” – reiterating that despite Trump’s continued emphasis on Mexico paying for the wall, Mexican President Nieto has repeatedly denied such claims.
At several points when asked specific questions, ranging from Russia, the wall, to the Afghanistan strategy, Sanders simply brushed off the questions, saying “I’ll get back to you, I’m not getting into the weeds of it”, or would refer the inquirer to pose their question to someone else.
As Sanders left the room, with nearly every single hand in the room shot up, members of the press ever so eagerly awaiting some response from this administration, someone shouted: “Has the President ever lied to us?”. The room responded with chuckles and shakes of the head, as the thick crowd quickly and effectively rushed out of the room.