12-Year-Old Attends White House Press Conference
May 3, 2018
On the morning of April 24th, I woke up at 6:30 a.m., a bit exhausted but excited for the busy day to come. My family and I arrived at the checkpoint area at the White House and awaited confirmation of my status as an approved member of the press. For a while we had to wait for ID clearance. Once confirmed we passed security and waited for an escort to take us to the White House Briefing Room. On the news when you first see the briefing room, you think you'll enter a large room filled with fancy equipment. Surprisingly, the room was pretty small and kind of cramped, with tons of other news personnel, including French press, for this particular day. Some of the people in the media were so super-friendly and welcoming. Someone even kindly took a picture of my family and me at the Briefing room podium where Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes questions from the press. There were times during my visit to the White House where staff would ask me if my family and I were here for a West Wing tour, as they were not used to seeing young people as reporters. On the whole, though, we were treated kindly and respected.
After waiting for a few minutes after 9 a.m., members of the press, including famous White House correspondents like John Roberts from Fox News, who graciously took a photograph with my family and me, were all escorted to the South Lawn for the arrival ceremony of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, to the White House.
A few minutes past 9 a.m., members of the press were escorted to the South Lawn for the arrival ceremony of Emmanuel Macron, the French President. This included correspondent John Roberts, of Fox News, who graciously took a photo with my family and myself.
We then waited for the large, black vans to come, bringing Macron, his wife, and other French dignitaries. In the meantime, elegantly dressed soldiers followed their instructor's commands; some soldiers were marching with flags and some were holding bayonets. When Presidents Trump and Macron arrived with their wives, they said a few words to each other quietly that no one was able to hear. Then they stood for their respective national anthems, with each President giving welcome speeches to the large crowds.
President Macron spoke in French with a translator, so the crowd could understand. The Presidents then circled the large crowd, reviewing the assembled military. Finally they went on top of the balcony and waved goodbye to the people standing on the South Lawn. When the Presidents were walking to the West Wing, they were swarmed by media like mosquitoes swarming people.
Eventually, after waiting with the press for an hour, the White House finally let us into the East Room, where the press conference would be held. Seeing how long the press has to wait for events made me gain respect for them.
We all then went into the White House East Room. Everyone took assigned seats, waiting for the leaders. It was very exciting when they told me that I could sit in the second row, wearing headphones so I could hear the interpreters translate President Macron's French into English.
I couldn't believe I was only a few feet away from President Trump, and inches away from KellyAnne Conway, John Bolton, Vice President Pence, his wife, and several other Trump cabinet members. Once the leaders entered, everyone stood up in respect for them. When the Presidents spoke, the room fell silent, but when they were taking questions everyone wanted a shot to ask a question.
I rose my hand, hoping I would get a chance to ask a question, but, unfortunately, the Presidents only took 2 questions each, two from the American press and two from the French press. If I had had the chance to ask President Macron a question, it would have been, "In light of the events in the recent past, do you have any words of reassurance for all the Jews living in your country who are scared for their lives?"
Since we had a couple of hours until the next event, we decided to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol building, and met Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. A couple of hours later, we were fortunate to return to the White House, where we got a glimpse of the state dinner from outside. Standing on a shaky scaffolding across from the front of the White House, we waited in the rain for President Trump and Mrs. Trump to greet President Macron and his wife for the state dinner. It was the first state dinner for the Trump White House.
This experience was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. It made me inspired to combine two of my favorite interests, politics and journalism. I want to thank KSM Kid Scoop Media for this amazing opportunity.