US President Donald Trump made his first appearance in a White House briefing on Thursday (4 January) — in a brief recorded video — and the internet cannot stop taunting him for it. In an unusual move, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened the briefing by playing the video in which Trump touted his recently passed tax cut bill that was signed just before Christmas.
"The historic tax cut I signed into law just two weeks ago, before Christmas, is already delivering major economic gains," Trump said in the video.
"Hundreds of thousands of Americans are seeing larger paychecks, bigger bonuses and higher pension contribution, and it's all because of the tax cuts and the tax reform and I want to thank all of the companies that work so hard to do it."
During a daily press briefing, White House press secretaries typically open by reading prepared statements.
However, if a president does want to address and field questions from the media, he usually does so in person in the press briefing room located just feet away from the Oval Office.
"Thank you, Mister President," Sanders said to the screen when the video address concluded.
The odd video appearance happens to come after details of Michael Wolff's explosive upcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House revealed unflattering and eye-opening anecdotes about the president and his administration.
It also allowed Trump to deliver his message without having to face questions from reporters about the book or any other issues.
Needless to say, the incident has taken social media by storm with many noting the distinct Orwellian flavour to the strange press briefing.
"What is happening?" BuzzFeed News' David Mack tweeted. Another person added: "Directly lifted from '1984'. Big Brother speaks from TV screens."
One person chimed: "Is this more 1984 or V for Vendetta? I can't decide which futurist hellscape our evil overlord is trying to mimic."
"365 days in the White House was too many. They could fake it for a while, but now the cat's out of the bag: the President is a low-functioning old man and his administration is chaos. Astonishing times," another person wrote.
Photos of the awkward interaction featuring Sanders standing at the lecturn between two large flatscreen televisions showing Trump's face have also become a viral meme.
Many people have added their own sarcastic touch to photos of the briefing by replacing the monitors with their own images.
Others proceeded to rip into Trump and his video appearance and accused him of being "too afraid" to face the media despite being just a short walk from the briefing room.