The children of the White House press corps added a little levity to what has been a notoriously fraught relationship, standing in for their parents at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day.
President Trump, who has practically made a mantra of the term “fake news,” greeted reporters’ kids in the Rose Garden Thursday, signing Make America Great Again hats and press cards while expressing a preference for their company.
“Honestly, the children ask me better questions,” he said, according to the press pool. “Your parents are being very nice right now, I can’t believe it! Because they don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of you.”
He praised the children as being “well behaved” and invited them into the Oval Office. But he had a question first.
“Do you want your parents in the Oval Office or out?” he asked.
“Out!” they cried.
“I agree. Come on, let’s go,” Trump said.
On the way in, Trump took the time to defend Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who had withdrawn from consideration to head the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier in the day.
“He got treated very very unfairly,” Trump said. “And he’s a hell of a man.”
The pool report says some parents were allowed inside the Oval Office, despite the kids’ — and the president’s — decree. The Associated Press reports other parents were shut out, left peeking in through the windows.
“Look how nice your parents are being. They’re not screaming,” Trump said, according to the pool report. “But you love your parents, right? Everybody love their parents?”
“Yes!” the kids chorused.
The children got the opportunity to grill the president’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, as they sat in the White House briefing room.
Sanders, a mother of three, held one of her children, while another climbed up the podium at times, and she fielded questions at the mock briefing.
“It’s great to see so many of you filling in for your parents today,” Sanders said.
Among the queries were those that fit right into what might be considered the kid realm.
The president’s favorite candy?
Starbursts, Sanders said, the pink and red ones.
His preferred animal?
Probably an elephant. (Of course it is.)
But kids pay attention to the hard-news headlines too.
One child asked why Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.
Comey, Sanders said, “did some things that weren’t really very nice.”
Jake Turx, a correspondent for the Orthodox Jewish weekly Ami Magazine, who was cut off and told to sit down by the president at a briefing last year when he tried to ask a question about anti-Semitism, had a proud dad moment. He tweeted that his son asked Sanders a “kinda epic” question that he came up with on his own:
“After President Trump makes America great again, what job will there be for future presidents?”
The Daily Mail quotes Sanders as responding that Trump will keep making the country “better and better.”
She also let the children in on some news, announcing Trump will take a trip to the United Kingdom July 13 and plans to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May.