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Was Trump Able To Dodge Reporters' Questions Because Of Nonexistent Fog?

The White House said Trump would ride in a motorcade — bypassing reporters — instead of flying due to fog. But the National Weather Service said there wasn't any fog by the time the White House made the decision.

Posted on July 26, 2018, at 2:39 p.m. ET

How President Donald Trump leaves the White House to go to Air Force One is usually an uncontroversial thing: He either gets into a motorcade or gets on board Marine One, the presidential helicopter.

Alex Brandon / AP, Carolyn Kaster / AP

Well, that wasn't the case Thursday.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Trump took the motorcade to Air Force One — at Joint Base Andrews — instead of flying because of "bad weather," confounding some reporters who cover him. The pool reporter noted the odd decision "on what appears to be the nicest day Washington has had all week."

On what appears to be the nicest day Washington has had all week, the White House has informed the pool that @POTUS will motorcade to JBA because of bad weather.

Several White House reporters noted that by taking the motorcade, Trump would not have to encounter reporters on the South Lawn, where he boards Marine One.

View from my office window as the White House makes a bad weather call - meaning the president will take a car to Andrews, rather than depart via his helicopter from the South Lawn where reporters can gather to shout questions at him.

Reporters subtweeted the hell out of the White House.

There is a bad weather call on Trump’s departure - so no questions today.

Trump often chooses to addresses reporters' shouted questions on the South lawn — sometimes holding full-on question-and-answer sessions.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Reporters' skepticism over the "bad weather call" comes a day after the media slammed the White House for denying a CNN reporter access to Trump's press conference after she asked him tough questions.

What @kaitlancollins did today -- ask the president questions -- is what every reputable journalist must do. That is our job. We do it just about every day, and most days Trump answers. Today, he decided to retaliate by barring Kaitlan from his press event.

White House officials said it was a "reasonable request" for reporters not to shout questions.

So on Thursday, reporters did their job and asked the White House: How could there be a bad weather call when there was no bad weather in sight? (Even the treasury secretary had his shades on today.)

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

After days of storms, showers, and flash-flood warnings, people were thankful for Thursday's weather in DC. The National Weather Service's forecast was "mostly sunny."

IT’S A MIRACLE!! It’s a day. And it’s not raining!! #dc #md #va #weather

The White House initially explained that the reason for the bad weather call was..."bad weather." "Pressed further, am told there is fog," the pool reporter learned.

Via the pool reporter today (it's @FoxNews repping the networks) who asked the White House what's up: "Was told the reason for the bad weather call is 'bad weather.' Pressed further, am told there is fog."

White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters told BuzzFeed News that the bad weather call was made at 7:39 a.m. ET on Thursday "due to ground fog" at Joint Base Andrews, about a 20-mile drive from the White House.

Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

"Weather calls are made over an hour in advance of the planned departure time," Walters said. Trump was scheduled to depart the White House at 9 a.m. ET.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

But a spokesperson for the government-run National Weather Service told BuzzFeed News that there was "some" ground fog at Joint Base Andrews at around 6:30 a.m. ET — but that it "was not dense" and cleared up by 7 a.m. ET.


"It wasn't really dense fog. It was only 5 miles visibility," the NWS spokesperson said.

He said the fog only showed up for "around 30 minutes" and that it was "pretty much clear by 7 a.m. ET."

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said she did not know for certain if there were any flight restrictions due to weather conditions.

She added, “I’m sitting right here in DC. It looks pretty sunny to me.”

So the White House said Trump couldn't fly — and, by extension, walk by reporters — because of light fog. But the government said the light fog was gone 35 minutes before the White House decided Trump couldn't fly.

Congressional Quarterly / CQ-Roll Call,Inc.


Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.