PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland conservative talk show host Lars Larson was one of the first people to ask a question at a White House press briefing without being in Washington D.C.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer made the announcement during his briefing on Tuesday that Larson would be one of four media members to participate in Wednesday’s press briefing through video-chat application Skype.
Spicer called the new program “Skype seats,” and it allows people outside of Washington D.C. to ask a question during the White House's daily press briefing.
Larson, Natalie Herbick of Fox 8 in Cleveland, Jeff Jobe of Jobe Publishing in Kentucky, and Kim Kalunian of WPRI in Providence were the first four people selected to participate in the program.
Larson, who hosts a nationally syndicated conservative talk shown on KXL, called Spicer "Commander Spicer," and asked whether President Trump would return federally-owned lands to the American people and if the president would support aggressive logging in forested lands:
“Commander Spicer! It's a pleasure. Thanks for your service to America and thanks for the opportunity. I've got a broad question: The federal government is the biggest landlord in America it owns two-thirds of a billion acres of America. I don’t think the founders ever envisioned it that way. Does the federal government want to start returning the people’s land to the people and in the meantime – for the second question, since that’s in fashion these days – can he tell the forest service to log our forests aggressively again to provide jobs for Americans, wealth for the treasury and not spend $3.5 billion a year fighting forest fires?”
“Thanks Lars. I think the president’s been very clear that as part of an overall energy solution we’ve got to utilize the resources that we have that the federal government owns, whether that’s the forests or the natural resources and minerals that exist above and below the ground. We have too infrequently looked at our own resources and counted too much on foreign sources of energy. So we’re going to continue as Congressman Zinke goes through the process to head up the interior department and Governor Perry goes through his appointment of his confirmation process- to get those individuals through but then working together in areas where they have overlap but also in areas where they will act individually to realize, to look at those natural resources that we have and figure out how to best utilize them to benefit not just our energy but also economic growth opportunities with that.”
Larson said he wanted to ask a question that the "inside the beltway" White House reporters would not ask, and one that residents of the Northwest would be interested in.
Larson said the U.S. imports 40 percent of the lumber it uses in the construction trade, which he said makes no sense.
“With the forests we have in this country, that’s like importing oil to Saudi Arabia,” said Larson.