Donald Trump beautifully played the D.C. press into airing what amounted to a 90-minute commercial for his new hotel today.
Billed as a press conference on the vitally important issue of where Donald Trump thinks President Obama was born, most of the major networks began airing footage of the ballroom around 10:15 a.m. Trump—who showed up 90 minutes late, by the way—appeared twice: once to tout the hotel, and once again to lie.
“Nice hotel. Under budget and ahead of schedule. Isn’t that nice?” Trump said, taking the stage. “Amazing, amazing how good our country can do when we want to do it. But we have put in tremendous amounts of work and energy—and money—and I really believe, I said this will be the best hotel in Washington. I think it may be one of the great hotels anywhere in the world. That’s the way it turned out. So, really honored to have this as our first event.”
Despite telling reporters the event was a press conference on the birther movement, Trump dedicated only one minute of the 90-or-so that made it to air on the topic. Here is what he said—guess which part is a lie:
“Now, not to mention her in the same breath, but Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. thank you. Thank you very much.”
That was a trick question—the whole thing was a lie.
But Trump’s extreme trolling of the D.C. press corps wasn’t yet over. According to reporters on the scene, he then locked the reporters in the ballroom and took the pool cameras on a promotional tour of the hotel. When ABC reporter Candace Smith, the designated pool producer, attempted to accompany the cameraman, she says she was “physically restrained.”
Apparently some in the press pool deleted footage in protest of the prank, which was no doubt the first productive thing any of them did all day.