No press, no problem? Within his first week as president-elect, Donald Trump abandoned his press pool and snuck out to his favorite NYC steakhouse for family dinner, but thanks to social media, he was caught in the act! Plus, HollywoodLife.com has exclusive details on Trump’s secretive dinner!
The White House Correspondents and the president have a long-standing deal — wherever the president goes, the press follows. It’s checks and balances; it’s freedom of the press; it’s the First Amendment. Donald Trump has had some issues grasping onto this concept from the start of his campaign for president. Now, as president-elect, he’s trying to find ways around, what he calls, “the failing press.”
On the evening of Nov. 15, after telling the press pool to “go home” for the night, Trump and his family snuck out of Trump Towers to go to dinner at a ritzy NYC steakhouse. It’d be one thing if this was a private family affair, but no — this was a feast at the 21 Club, where Trump chatted with patrons, was met with applause and sat at his favorite table in the restaurant. This was an outing that the press pool should have had access to. Instead, the press pool that stayed at Trump Tower was notified of the dinner through a tweet by a reporter who happened to be eating at the restaurant.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) November 16, 2016
The press traveled to the barricaded street and was forced to stand behind a dumpster to try to get a view of Trump and the restaurant. Luckily for social media, patrons and some media members who were at 21 Club took photos and videos of the president-elect at his favorite steakhouse.
Trump has had a tumultuous relationship with his press pool since beginning his campaign for president. From placing them in a “press pen” at rallies to openly berating different publications for their reporting on him, Trump has demonstrated his disdain for uncensored media. Now, as the future president, it will be his job to communicate with the press and ensure their free reporting, as stated in and ensured by the First Amendment. Is it worrisome Trump still won’t play by the standard press rules, even after his election?
According to video footage captured by diners, Trump walked into 21 Club and was met with applause after he bellowed, “we’ll get your taxes down, don’t worry about it,” and shook hands with patrons. Trump is a regular at the restaurant and reportedly prefers table 11, where President Ford and his wife would sit, as well. The president-elect’s wedding reception to Ivana Trump was actually at 21 Club in 1977. On Tuesday night, however, he was joined by his children from his marriage to Ivana — Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr., plus their significant others. Tiffany Trump also joined her family at the 21 Club for the “secretive” family gathering.
A 21 Club staff member tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY that Trump and his family members, notably Melania and Ivanka, arrived around 7, 7:30. “There was a lot of excitement. He certainly is the President-Elect. The atmosphere was buzzing,” she said. “People were excited to see him. We didn’t hear positives or negatives as far as the politics are concerned. But, I think just the fact that the President-Elect was in the dining room/the restaurant, there was definitely some buzz in the air.” The staff member reported that Trump was in “great spirits” and, while she could not comment on what exactly he ate, she said he is a huge fan of the 21 Club Burger. Yum!
The dinner lasted about 2 hours before the family kissed each other goodbye outside the restaurant and went their separate ways. According to Kate Smith, a reporter from Bloomberg who was dining in the restaurant, Trump ordered a Virgin Bloody Mary. He also has said n the past that he enjoys his steak very, very well done, but he loves a good piece of meat — so maybe he ordered the $68 rib-eye.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of Donald Trump ditching his press pool? Does this worry you for when he takes the office?