The Slatest

Watch Trump Leave Executive Order Signing Ceremony Without Signing Anything

Executive Orders regarding trade lay on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office of the White House on March 31, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump gathered the press on Friday to sign two new executive orders on trade. He spoke very positively about what he was going to sign. “Thank you everybody,” he said from the podium. “You’re going to be seeing some very, very strong results very, very quickly. Thank you very much.”

But when a reporter tried to ask Trump a question about Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser who is now offering up testimony in exchange for immunity, the president’s fight or flight instincts seem to have kicked in. The commander in chief immediately sought out the door, and seemingly couldn’t get out of the room fast enough. Never mind that he hadn’t actually signed anything.  

Vice President Mike Pence seems to have noticed the president’s mistake and ran after him. Trump appears to gesture that he wants the orders to be brought to him so Pence then goes to the desk and picks up the orders so the commander in chief can sign them in another room. That’s not quite how things usually work, considering Trump likes to have the press take photos of him signing executive orders.

So what were the orders? One calls for a 90-day study of the country’s trade deficits to identify potential abuses and the other one calls for stricter enforcement of anti-dumping laws.