Reporters were baffled after Donald Trump made a minute-long, unscheduled press appearance to take credit for the stock market surpassing 30,000 earlier in the day.
After his brief comment, the press called out questions, including whether Mr Trump intended to concede. The president ignored the questions and walked away.
“Well that was weird as s***,” one of the journalists said after a moment.
“That’s one of the stranger ones,” another could be heard saying over the hot mic.
It was a day of strange utterings at the White House; in addition to his spur of the moment press conference, Mr Trump also hosted the annual turkey pardon ahead of Thanksgiving.
“We’re here today to continue a beloved annual tradition … because Thanksgiving is a special day for turkeys – I guess, probably for the most part, not a very good one when you think about it,” he said, prior to pardoning turkeys Corn and Cobb.
The president has largely stayed out of the public eye following the 2020 election after Joe Biden won 306 Electoral College votes to Mr Trump’s 232 votes, thus making the Republican a one-term president.
However, his reluctance to appear in public clearly did not outweigh his desire to take credit for the stock market.
“I just want to congratulate everybody,” Mr Trump said, entering the room just moments after the meeting was announced.
“The stock market Dow Jones Industrial Average just hit 30,000, which is the highest in history. We’ve never broken 30,000, and that’s despite everything that’s taken place with the pandemic,” he said.
“Never been broken, that number. That’s a sacred number, 30,000,” he added.
Mr Trump then ended the briefing by thanking members of his administration for their work to boost the economy.
“I just want to congratulate all the people within the administration that work so hard, and most importantly I want to congratulate the people of our country,” Mr Trump said. The briefing, exactly 62 seconds in length, then involved the president thanking reporters for gathering so quickly before he walked out.
“Mr President, are you going to concede?” was one of the questions shouted at him by reporters as he left the room, which he ignored.
The stock market surged this week amid positive news about the coronavirus vaccine and the announcement from the General Services Administration (GSA) that president-elect Biden could begin the transition process to his administration. It also comes after Mr Trump warned on the campaign trail that the stock market would tank if Mr Biden were elected, which was not the case.
Mr Trump has made few public appearances since losing the election, and he’s instead made his voice heard on Twitter by promoting unproven claims that mass voter fraud took place across the country.
Although it’s become clearer with each day that Mr Biden will be inaugurated on 20 January as the 46th president of the United States, the current president has decided to not concede the race.
On Monday, following news from GSA Chief Emily Murphy that the Biden administration could begin its transition process, Mr Trump made a slight concession to his competitor in a tweet.
“In the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same,” Mr Trump wrote, while adding he believed his administration would still “prevail” in overturning the election results.
Mr Trump made a second public appearance on Tuesday to carry out the annual White House tradition of pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving.