NEW YORK (AP) — The three golden elevator doors in the Trump Tower lobby have turned into the most unlikely television feature.
C-SPAN is carrying a near-constant video feed across from the elevator bank, catching people as they arrive for and depart from meetings with President-elect Donald Trump at his residence. Monday offered star-gazing potential as television news personalities were summoned — and an unexpected performance from New York’s Naked Cowboy.
It all seemed natural, considering the unseen star is the nation’s first elected president who was once a TV reality star.
“This is for people who love watching a government in transition,” said C-SPAN spokesman Howard Mortman, “or who love watching a bank of elevators.”
The feed comes from the television network pool set up by reporters on stakeout duty in the lobby below the president-elect’s residence. Most of the time the camera shot is fixed in place, focusing on the elevator doors and a golden security desk with a “TT” insignia.
C-SPAN began showing it last Wednesday, airing nearly 23 hours of the doors last week. The stream is shown constantly on C-SPAN’s website, with highlights on the TV network itself, say when somebody decides to address reporters’ questions.
On Monday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos stepped off an elevator and away from the off-camera reporters. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer walked across the lobby in front of the waiting media.
“Wolf, how was the meeting?” someone asked, and Blitzer ignored the question.
Television news stars and executives were invited on two days’ notice to the off-the-record meeting. Lester Holt and Chuck Todd came from NBC News; John Dickerson, Charlie Rose and Gayle King from CBS; David Muir and Martha Raddatz from ABC News. Top television news executives like ABC’s James Goldston, CNN’s Jeff Zucker and Fox News’ Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy also attended.
It’s not unusual for television executives and personalities to meet for off-the-record conversations with presidents, particularly when they have particular policies to push.
There was certainly a lot for the incoming president and media executives to discuss, beginning with Trump’s near-unceasing attack on the media during his campaign. Since the election, the media has expressed concern about whether Trump will stick to protocol by allowing a protective pool to cover his whereabouts, and when he will hold his first news conference as president-elect.
Less than 90 minutes after the planned start of the meeting, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway emerged from the elevator with NBC News President Deborah Turness. Turness peeled away, and Conway took questions from reporters.
She called it a congenial and candid meeting, giving few details. “From our perspective, it was great to hit the reset button,” she said.
Asked about incidents of intimidation or violence involving Trump supporters since the campaign, she appealed to reporters for their assistance in helping the country move on. “Some people are still in election mode and the election is over,” she said.
“Thanks for sharing your bosses with us today,” Conway said to the reporters, saying Trump will meet Tuesday with editors from The New York Times.
Conway’s appearance on “Trump Tower Live” came less than an hour after the guitar-wielding Naked Cowboy stepped in front of the camera for a few songs. The Times Square denizen is known to tourists for wearing a cowboy hat, white underwear and little else.
Monday he had something special for the camera: “Trump” painted on the back of his underwear.
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