My Visit to the White House

GABRIELA RODRIGUEZ: As part of my “Covering the White House” class, taught by Jon Decker of FOX News Radio, I had the opportunity to visit the White House on Tuesday, October 9th. The purpose of our trip was to see a Press Briefing in person. Unfortunately, as my professor and most of the guest speakers have confirmed, President Trump’s administration rarely holds press briefings. With this in mind, we arrived expecting to see the empty press briefing room and Professor Decker’s workspace.

As soon as we got there, however, our professor told us that President Donald Trump was leaving on Marine One in about 20 minutes to go to Iowa, and that we would get to see him leave the Oval Office. Earlier that day, Nikki Haley had resigned as UN Ambassador and just a day before Brett Kavanaugh had been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Reporters were eager to get the president on the record about these subjects.

President Trump is more open to talking to the press than other presidents. Insights from our professor and different guest speakers reveal that Trump can actually be really talkative, however, his staff which cuts him off from the press. In line with what we’ve learned, the president did stop to talk to the press on his walk from the Oval Office to Marine One.

As soon as the president stepped out, reporters and photographers all swamped him, hoping for quotes and pictures. The loud noise of the helicopter, combined with all the chatter from the reporters, made it hard to actually hear what Trump was saying. Aiming not to interrupt the reporters, my classmates and I decided to hang back and watch the whole exchange from the back.

After about 20 minutes of talking, Trump left the reporters and continued walking towards Marine One. Watching the helicopter depart from the South Lawn with the Washington Monument in the distance was a very surreal experience and one I will most likely never forget.

Afterwards, we waited about five minutes while our professor went live with FOX radio to talk about what had just happened. In that time, we got to see journalists heading back to “Pebble Beach,” the spot where most reporters record their live segments for the news.

To end our trip, we saw the press briefing room, which is significantly smaller than its TV appearance. We saw where different news organizations have their desks and snapped a few pictures behind the Press Secretary’s podium.

Our short, but exciting trip ended quickly, as our professor had to continue with his busy work day. That evening, I was excited to see the news and re-live all I had seen in person. Getting to go inside the White House and have this experience was one of my favorite memories at Georgetown, and just one of the many opportunities the school has provided me.

Max Magid