In an hour-and-a-half-long, rapid-fire exchange with reporters, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer laid out the priorities for the newly minted Trump administration.
Several times during the first full press briefing of the administration, Spicer reiterated Trump’s importance on “putting America first.”
“President Trump is focused on fulfilling his pledge to pursue trade policies that put America first, the President began with a breakfast with key U.S. business leaders with focus of the discussion was on job creation and growing our manufacturing base,” Spicer said during the briefing, which came hours after Trump signed an executive order that moved to withdraw the U.S. from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.
How will Donald Trump lead the United States? That’s what reporters asked when his Press Secretary took questions for the first time.
CGTN White House correspondent Jessica Stone was there and reports trade wars, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the South China Sea and Syria were just some of the topics.
The press secretary also outlined key foreign policy points, saying that the White House is willing to partner with Moscow to take on ISIL, saying Trump will “work with any country committed to defeating” the group.
The commitment to combating terror extended to the conversation between President Trump and Egypt’s Egypt’s President Sissi. The conversation centered on strengthening the fight on terror with Egypt, which is the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid.
Responding to a question about the South China Sea, Spicer said “I think the U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there.”
“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” the press secretary added.
“The first press briefing came days after Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Two days after Trump’s inauguration, Spicer made a statement in the White House press briefing room, condemning reports that aimed to “minimize the enormous support” Trump had at the swearing-in. Spicer went after the media who were “engaged in deliberately false reporting.”
The disagreement was over the crowd sizes in attendance for Trump’s inauguration. Media reports showed that the inauguration of President Obama in 2009 netted much larger crowds than Trump. The press secretary in response asserted that it was the “most watched inaugural.”
During the press briefing on Monday, Spicer refreshed the argument, telling the briefing room packed with reporters that “there are times when we believe something to be true or we get something from an agency or we act in haste because the information available wasn’t complete but our desire to communicate with the American people to make sure you have the most complete story at the time, and so we do it.”
The administration’s “intention is to always tell the truth,” Spicer said when reporters pushed back against the crowd claims.
“It’s incredibly frustrating” to feel like “it’s never big enough, it’s never good enough” Spicer said of the “theme” surrounding the Trump administration.