It is many a little boy’s fantasy. When a shiny red fire engine turned up on the White House lawn, Donald Trump, 70, could not resist hopping inside. “Where’s the fire?” the US president joked. “I’ll put it out.”
Trump’s critics might suggest he spends more time starting fires than putting them out.
Widely mocked for honking the horn of a truck on the White House lawn in March, Trump faced potential ridicule again on Monday as he surrounded himself with vehicles and products from all 50 states to launch his “made in America” week.
From the state dining room to the south lawn, the executive mansion came to resemble an Amazon warehouse with lots of stuff: baseball bats, beer, door hinges, fried chicken, horseshoes, guitars, a lawnmower, a Nasa space suit, wheelbarrows and, inevitably, golf clubs. The property tycoon-turned-president tried on a cowboy hat. No one dared called him a cowboy builder.
But as he surveyed this museum of American capitalism, Trump did not address the central paradox of why many of his own company’s products, and those of his daughter Ivanka, are manufactured overseas.
That was left to Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, returning to action after a prolonged absence. He addressed reporters in the West Wing briefing room for the first time since 26 June. But once again cameras were banned; the White House has not held a televised briefing since 29 June.
Spicer has previously claimed that he does not want to be filmed on days when Trump is speaking in public so as not to distract from the president’s message. And this was a day when Trump, surrounded by consumer paraphernalia in the East Room, was in full salesman mode.