President Trump walked out on his own Oval Office signing ceremony without actually signing his two executive orders on trade.
Trump’s abrupt departure from Friday’s ceremony came after a reporter shouted questions about the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who has offered to testify before Congress on Russian involvement in the U.S. election in return for immunity from prosecution.
Flynn resigned from the job in February amid revelations he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
Reporters reacted with surprise when Trump left the room without signing his orders. Brian Teff of ABC Action News in Philadelphia called it “a hugely awkward moment.”
This hugely awkward moment lays bare the tension within the WH. Refusing to answer question, Pres Trump walks out of Oval, before signing EO pic.twitter.com/GVFHZSRDmx
— Brian Taff (@briantaff6abc) April 1, 2017
Pence, also appearing surprised, picked up the orders and followed Trump out of the Oval Office, tweeted CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.
VP Pence collected the Executive Orders from the Resolute Desk and brought them to Pres Trump to sign in another room. pic.twitter.com/89BgpElbew
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 31, 2017
The White House said Trump later signed the orders in another room. The orders were aimed at reducing the nation’s trade deficit by cracking down on “foreign importers that cheat,” the president said.
–Erin Kelly , USA TODAY