Trump Holds Signing Ceremony but Keeps Media Cameras Out

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump held a signing ceremony in support for a monument celebrating women's suffrage Thursday. But unlike most traditional Oval Office photo-ops, the media was kept away from the occasion.

Instead, the White House posted its own in-house, nearly two-minute video of Trump reading a statement at the signing event while supporters of the monument stand around the Resolute Desk.

"For seven decades courageous women hosted rallies, published newspapers and worked tirelessly to secure women's right to vote," he says in the clip. "The relentless effort prevailed and 100 years ago the United States ratified the 19th Amendment."

President @realDonaldTrump just signed legislation to create a monument in our Nation's capital commemorating the brave pioneers of the women's suffrage movement!

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 17, 2020

The White House did not respond to Newsweek's direct question about why the signing ceremony was not open to the media.

Trump has held few public events with reporters since the November 3 election and has not conceded to President-elect Joe Biden. He has taken questions at just two of his 13 public appearances open to the press and notably held an impromptu, one-minute speech in the White House briefing room but took no questions.

The president has instead sent his messages mostly through Twitter, where he's questioned the election outcome and argued against his defeat.

It's not the first time this week that Trump has made an unusual move of blocking press from events that typically would produce photo opportunities. The media was also not invited to Trump's Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Before the election, Trump frequently opened his celebratory signing ceremonies to a small group of reporters, where he would invite lawmakers and other stakeholders, and hold up the signed legislation for photos.

The bill set for Thursday's signing ceremony, House Resolution 473, paves the way for the "Every Word We Utter Monument" to be placed on federal land in Washington, D.C., which required congressional approval. It was fast-tracked through the Senate this month, after passing in the House in February.

Every Word We Utter is a non-profit organization that fundraised to have the sculpture made and has been advocating to have it placed on federal grounds.

Melania Trump tweeted her support for the effort on December 7, noting she has been working with the group behind the effort to commemorate the 19th Amendment and was looking forward to the bill signing. It's timing marks the 100th anniversary of the amendment's passage.

The sculpture by Jane DeDecker features historical women who contributed to women's rights, including Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells. It will be placed near the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We need to build monuments that tell the equitable, collaborative, and complex stories of our shared American experience. The sacrifices that the suffragists made in securing the right to vote for women cannot be forgotten and must be celebrated," DeDecker said in a statement after the legislation passed the Senate earlier this month.

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President Donald Trump departs on the South Lawn of the White House, on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Al Drago/Getty