The story out of the joint news conference today between Donald Trump and Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte isn’t what the President said or didn’t say. It’s more about what he was asked and what he wasn’t asked. Following the banning of CNN’s Kaitlan Collins last week, the Trump White House is clearly choosing questions that go before the President more carefully. Welcome to the Bill Shine era. Shine is the former Fox News executive who is now working in the White House.
WH aides were asking some reporters this morning what questions they would like to ask Trump at his press conference. It’s a question other administrations have asked, too, but most reporters I know never reveal their questions beyond “news of day.” Today, perhaps they did answer
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) July 30, 2018
Just a couple reporters get a shot at asking the President questions at these joint press conferences and in the past that often meant the bigger news organizations would be selected. Not anymore. Today the first question went to a controversial conservative outlet.
Trump's first question went to Tucker Carlson's fake news, suspected white supremacist propaganda site Daily Caller. Trump is desperate 😂
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) July 30, 2018
Trump, who complained of tough questioning from @JonLemire in Helsinki, goes to the Daily Caller for the first question this time.
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) July 30, 2018
Trump grants first question to a Daily Caller reporter, who asks if he will indeed shut down the government if he doesn’t get the full $20+ billion for his border wall. Trump responds with a bizarre rant about MS-13 “killers” and never really answers the question. pic.twitter.com/U6HWHT4uq7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 30, 2018
Other reporters may have asked about Michael Cohen, the still separated immigrant children or Russia meddling, but clearly, Trump wanted the message out there that as far as he is concerned, today the border wall is his priority.
"If we don't get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown," US President Trump said during a joint news conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte https://t.co/fu3uuIlY2O pic.twitter.com/V34sZuq7pG
— CNN International (@cnni) July 30, 2018
Watch the full news conference above.