Trump makes surprise TV appearance
Donald Trump made a surprise appearance in front of the cameras today, less than 24 hours after allowing the presidential transition process to begin.
Mr Trump popped up in the White House briefing room shortly before 1pm, local time, Vice President Mike Pence in tow. He gave the news media no more than three minutes' notice.
He did not mention the election, instead boasting that the Dow Jones had just reached 30,000 points for the first time ever.
"I just want to congratulate everybody. The stock market Dow Jones Industrial Average just hit 30,000, which is the highest in history," the President said.
"We've never broken 30,000. And that's despite everything that's taken place with the pandemic.
"I'm very thrilled with what's happened on the vaccine front. That's been absolutely incredible. Nothing like that has ever happened, medically. And I think people are acknowledging that, and it's having a big effect.
"But the stock market's just broken 30,000. Never been broken, that number. That's a sacred number, 30,000. Nobody thought they'd ever see it.
"That's the ninth time since the beginning of 2020. And it's the 48th time that we've broken records during the Trump administration. And I just want to thank all the people within the administration that worked so hard, and most importantly I want to congratulate the people of our country, because there are no people like you."
And with that, he left the room. The whole appearance took no more than 90 seconds, Mr Pence didn't say a word, and neither of them took questions.
The reporters in the room shouted a few questions after Mr Trump, asking whether he was going to concede defeat in the election. He did not answer.
"Well that was weird as s***," one of them could be heard remarking after the President had left. Another said it was "one of the stranger" briefings they had experienced.
The brief statement also baffled some viewers, including the ever opinionated British TV host Piers Morgan, who labelled it "America's most pointless presidential press conference".
UPDATE: Nope, he just wanted to spend 60 seconds boasting about vaccines & Dow Jones breaking 30,000. Then he left again.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 24, 2020
America's most pointless presidential press conference. https://t.co/lSSu5voNJG
Mr Trump is expected to appear again later, in the White House's Rose Garden, where he'll present a Thanksgiving turkey alongside First Lady Melania Trump.
The Dow did indeed break 30,000 for the first time in history today, continuing its recovery from the trough it hit during the coronavirus pandemic's first wave in April. According to CNBC, it has risen more than 13 per cent this month, which will represent the highest rate of growth since 1987 if it holds.
The business network attributed today's record-breaking mark to "positive vaccine news, hope for a strong economic recovery in 2021, and easing of political uncertainty".
It came in the wake of the General Services Administration's decision yesterday to let the presidential transition process formally begin, following the certification of Joe Biden's victories in Georgia and Michigan. His win in Pennsylvania was certified today.
Speaking of the president-elect, he also made a public appearance today, addressing the cameras less than an hour after Mr Trump.
Mr Biden presented some of the people he has named as future members of his Cabinet - though they still need to be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Originally published as Trump makes surprise TV appearance
There’s something bizarre about Trump trying to sell himself to voters when he was just rejected by them https://t.co/TuRi60IjWY— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 24, 2020
.@realDonaldTrump came into the White House Briefing Room to extol the Dow Jones breaking 30,000 historic highs without taking questions and leaving in barely a minute. Never acknowledging the market highs are at least partly relief that he has finally let the transition begin!— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) November 24, 2020