In what journalists fear may be a sign of things to come, Donald Trump ditched his press pool on Tuesday night, slipping out of Trump Tower to grab dinner with his family at the ‘21’ Club.
The move represents a significant break with protocol. While Trump did not break any law, it is customary for the president and president-elect to be accompanied by a press pool at all times, just in case something happens. How do you think we know that George W. Bush was reading The Pet Goat on 9/11?
The Trump transition team told reporters that the president-elect would not be moving from Trump Tower for the rest of the evening. Less than two hours later, Trump and his family were seen driving away from the building in a motorcade.
The press might never have found out where he went had it not been for a journalist who just happened to be eating at the ‘21’ Club when he arrived, much to her surprise — and reportedly to a standing ovation.
The incident seems to be a misunderstanding, another example of Trump and his transition team underestimating or simply not being aware of the protocols and responsibilities of the presidency. Trump’s spokesperson Hope Hicks released a statement about the incident, calling on the press to respect Trump’s privacy when he is eating dinner with his family.
The press responded by taking to Twitter to help clarify precisely what their role actually is.
This is not the first time that Trump has ditched the press as president-elect. Hopefully the whole thing really was an innocent miscommunication and not an early sign of the soon-to-be Trump White House’s new relationship with the press.