President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE touted the economy in a brief exchange with reporters as he left the White House on the way to Camp David on Thursday, but did not take questions from the press following one of the most tumultuous weeks of his presidency.
Wearing a long blue coat in the 19-degree winter Washington weather, Trump boasted to reporters that the stock market is up “very, very big today” and stated that the “tax cuts are really kicking in far beyond what anyone thought.”
The president touted announcements from several companies that have said they will give raises or bonuses to their employees in the wake of the tax overhaul.
“The market is good, the jobs report was good and we think they’re going to get really good over the next couple of months,” Trump said.
The president then walked off, turning and waving to reporters as they shouted questions about former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and a high-profile book by author Michael Wolff, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which paints a picture of chaos and confusion within the administration.
Trump does not always take questions from reporters on his way to Marine One but was unusually inaccessible this week as the White House dealt with fallout from the book.
The president had only one event where reporters could ask him questions. At one press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders played a video of Trump addressing reporters while the president was down the hall.
Still, questions about the book dominated the press briefings and underscored another contentious week between the media and the White House.
Trump says he will announce the winner of a “fake news” contest at an event on Monday that is meant to embarrass the press. The White House press briefings, meanwhile, were punctuated by bitter exchanges, with reporters questioning Sanders about Trump’s mental stability, whether he is an authoritarian, and about the salacious details in the Wolff book.
The White House has been in crisis mode in responding to the book.
Administration officials are disputing many quotes and anecdotes in it, although the remarks attributed to Bannon provoked a nasty split between the president and his former chief strategist.
In the book, Wolff quotes Bannon as saying that Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign was “treasonous.”
Trump responded by dramatically cutting ties with Bannon, saying that “Sloppy Steve” had “lost his mind” and downplaying their relationship, as well as Bannon’s influence within his campaign and administration.
Now, the administration is working furiously to discredit Wolff. The president’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter to the book’s publisher and is threatening to sue Wolff.
But demand for the book has skyrocketed amid the frenzy, provoking the publisher to push up the release date to Thursday night. Copies of the book flew off the shelves at book stores and it rocketed up to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
Trump this week was also dealing this week with blowback from his Twitter taunts aimed at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s insistence that he has a bigger nuclear “button” that Kim has alarmed foreign policy experts, who worry the president will blunder into nuclear war. It has also emboldened the president’s critics to question his mental stability.
At Camp David this weekend, the president will meet with with GOP leaders in Congress and members of his Cabinet about the legislative year ahead and the 2018 midterm elections.
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