It took exactly one week before Donald Trump broke from the normal protocol for the President Elect of the United States of America, ditching the presidential press pool to get dinner at the 21 Club steakhouse a few blocks from Trump Tower. NBC‘s Hallie Jackson was on the ball enough to find out where he was going and get a reservation at the pricey restaurant, making sure to shoot video on her phone of Trump arriving and working the room:
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) November 16, 2016
“We’ll get your taxes down, don’t worry about it,” Trump says while shaking hands, though it’s unclear if he’s speaking generally to the room or to a specific person. Jackson twice asks “Mr. President Elect, no heads-up for the media, sir?” to no answer as Trump works through the room to applause and whistling from the diners. The clip ends, and that’s about it.
Steve Mnuchin, a member of Trump’s transition team who might be appointed Secretary of the Treasury, elaborated a little bit on Trump’s tax plans to the New York Times. “I think the other thing — very big focus — is regulatory changes, looking at the creation of an infrastructure bank to fund infrastructure investments,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of things to do, and I’d say the economic priorities are clearly taxes, regulatory, trade and infrastructure.”
As for Trump ditching the press pool, Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, issued the following statement:
One week after the election, it is unacceptable for the next president of the United States to travel without a regular pool to record his movements and inform the public about his whereabouts. The White House Correspondents’ Association is pleased to hear reassurances by the Trump transition team that it will respect long-held traditions of press access at the White House and support a pool structure. But the time to act on that promise is now. Pool reporters are in place in New York to cover the president-elect as he assembles his new administration. It is critical that they be allowed to do their jobs.