Trump holds 'opportune' press conference about border security hours after Pelosi sworn in as speaker

Event dismissed as attempt to seize attention as congress sworn in

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
@AndrewBuncombe
Thursday 03 January 2019 17:41
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Donald Trump makes surprise appearance at presser during government shutdown

Donald Trump has held a surprise press briefing – described by one television anchor as “a stunt” – hours after Nancy Pelosi made history by being sworn in as speaker.

Surprising reporters who had been told there was to be a briefing by the White House press secretary, the president appeared with several staff from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to repeat his demand for a border wall, and congratulate the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, elected for the second time.

“It’s a very very great achievement and hopefully we’re going to work together and get lots of things done, like infrastructure,” Mr Trump said of Ms Pelosi’s swearing in.

“I think it’ll work out and be a little bit differently than a lot of people are thinking.”

He then quickly pivoted to the issue of border security and introduced several officials from the nation’s border control agency. He said “this was set up a long time ago. It just came at a very opportune time. We were in the Oval Office working on different plans”.

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Mr Trump added: “I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security, for border control, and for frankly, the wall or the barrier You can call it a wall, you can call it a barrier, whatever you want.”

The Hill said Mr Trump, who was flanked by eight ICE agents, surprised reporters who were told by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders there would be a briefing in 20 minutes time.

After gathering in the James Brady press briefing room, she told them there was a special guest, Mr Trump.

Neither Mr Trump or Ms Sanders took questions as they left the room after about five minutes. A CNN anchor said the event was not a briefing but “a stunt”.

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