On the heels of a particularly bad several days of damaging leaks coming out of his White House, Donald Trump on Monday afternoon declared....something not entirely clear about his views on the subject.
So the leaks are a “massive exaggeration” by the media but also the leakers are “traitors and cowards”? Huh?
This comes after the White House was once again faced with questions on about special assistant Kelly Sadler’s off-color crack about Senator John McCain. (Sadler said that McCain’s opposition to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.”)
During the briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah repeatedly said the matter was handled internally and that, after calling the McCain family to apologize, Sadler still works at the White House.
When pressed, Shah also acknowledged that the constant leaking for a variety of reasons has created an atmosphere where staffers don’t feel they can speak freely in meetings.
“When you work in any work environment...if you aren’t able in internal meetings to speak your mind or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a difficult work environment,” Shah said, as quoted by Politico. “I think anybody who works anywhere can recognize that.”
This also comes after a hilarious report from Axios over the weekend. The site reported that a visibly angry Sarah Huckabee Sanders, while berating her disloyal staff, said “I am sure this conversation is going to leak, too. And that’s just disgusting.” That conversation...leaked.
The administration, with Trump leading the way, has tried to make this a problem created by “fake” news reporters, rather than one created by their own duplicitous staffers. But if the cascade of leaks is doing anything to slow the administration’s sinister agenda—and shed light on a White House that’s openly hostile to the press—then let it rain down leaks, forever and ever.