President Donald Trump said he had not wanted to deliver Tuesday night's televised speech or make an upcoming trip to the border Thursday, finding the new publicity strategy useless but that his advisers had talked him into it.
"It's not going to change a damn thing, but I'm still doing it," Trump said of the border visit during a meeting between the President and network anchors Tuesday afternoon. He added the trip was simply for publicity.
Trump referenced his advisers Bill Shine and Kellyanne Conway and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who were all in the room during the off-the-record meeting, and said they convinced him the trip would be "worth it."
The New York Times first reported the President's comments.
Trump's meeting with the anchors came just before his televised speech to the nation Tuesday evening addressing border security as he negotiates with congressional Democrats to reopen the government. The President framed the situation at the southern border as a national threat that a border wall would solve, making several misleading claims. Trump stopped short of declaring a national emergency, an option that he had floated to fund the wall without congressional approval.
"Thank you for soooo many nice comments regarding my Oval Office speech. A very interesting experience!" he tweeted Tuesday night.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi followed Trump's address with a national address of their own. The Democratic leaders blamed Trump for the shutdown, characterizing it as a manufactured crisis.