After 31 years of broadcasting, I can add another (recurring) title to my resume:
During President Trump’s 17-day “working vacation” — split between Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ; Trump Tower in New York City and the White House — I got to be in the rotation to be the radio reporter on the ground that fed information to all the other radio outlets. It’s exhausting..yet interesting at the same time.
August 8th was my first ever ‘pool’ day. That was the day — during what was to be a brief photo opportunity for the President and his advisors to discuss America’s opioid crisis — when a fellow pool reporter fired off a question about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s threat to fire missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam.
As you know by now..this was President Trump’s response.
I was standing across the table and to the President’s right when he said it. Not many people were discussing opioids after that.
My second day as pool reporter — a lot less eventful. I was in New York City on August 14th…but the President was not for most of the day. He was in D.C. doing some level of damage control..after not condemning specific hate groups for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, VA the weekend prior. The President strengthened his condemnation on Monday..but only after sound criticism from both sides of the political aisle.
My third and final pool-reporting day was Thursday the 17th..back out near Bedminster. This was two days following what some have described as his Trump Tower “meltdown” with the media. He did not speak to the media at all on his final day..and understandably so.
But some of his fellow Republicans talked about him.
They include South Carolina Republican senator Tim Scott who said the President lacked the “moral authority” his office requires. Senator Scott’s comment to VICE News was:
“I’m not going to defend the indefensible…[Trump’s] comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened. There’s no question about that.”
Tennessee GOP senator Bob Corker — in his comments below (courtesy of the Associated Press) — went further.
The ouster of White House Strategist Steve Bannon on Friday (8/18) only adds to the comparison that some have made dubbing this White House — ‘Survivor: D.C. Swamp’.
As exhausting and — at times — unpredictable as it was, I enjoyed my pool reporter experience. It does still leave me to wonder how the White House Press Corps in Washington does this day after day…