White House aides reportedly persuaded President Trump not to hold a traditional end-of-year press conference over concerns that he would be overwhelmed with questions about the ongoing Russia probe.
Trump was ready to take questions before leaving for Mar-a-Lago on Friday, but his advisers didn't want to risk overshadowing his signing of the tax bill, CNN reported.
After some uncertainty about the president's schedule, in which aides reportedly were preparing for a news conference or public bill signing, the White House finally indicated Trump would sign the tax reform and government funding legislation in private and away from the media. However, after resistance from the press pool, reporters and photographers were rushed into the Oval Office to witness the signing.
White House aides, including chief of staff John Kelly, tried to usher reporters out quickly as they asked the president questions.
Aides edged in toward Trump's desk as he answered back to the media. Kelly eventually told reporters, "Helicopter is running out of gas" to urge the press to leave.