Donald Trump walked out of a televised executive order signing ceremony without approving the directives after being asked about a sacked aide.
The US President was speaking at a podium in the Oval Office, with a folder containing the official documents executive orders and a pen laid on the desk for his signature.
But when a reporter tackled him about his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Mr Trump abruptly walked out, leaving his Vice President Mike Pence to collect the folder.
The White House said he later signed the two orders, which focused on reducing the trade deficit, out of view of cameras.
The first one gave the Commerce Department 90 days to compile a report on the factors behind the trade deficit, while the second aims to increase collection of duties on imports.
Mr Flynn has offered to testify on the Russian involvement in the US presidential election campaign in exchange for immunity from prosecution.