Donald Trump's tweets are a nonstop, confused mess. When asked to explain them, his press secretary instead attacked the media.
Donald Trump’s inability to understand the issues facing America’s national security and the fight against terrorism led his press secretary to viciously attack a reporter who tried to pry the truth out of the White House.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about a haphazard series of tweets Trump wrote about FISA, the act lays out how and when the government can conduct surveillance, balancing the desire to fight crime and terrorism with individual privacy.
It started Thursday morning, when Trump was watching Fox News during his “executive time.”
Fox’s Andrew Napolitano, who is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, spoke directly to camera at 6:47 a.m. and instructed Trump to oppose reauthorization of FISA, saying, “Mr. President, this is not the way to go.”
Less than an hour later, at 7:33 a.m., Trump tweeted a quote from Fox and baselessly claimed FISA may have been used “to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?”
Trump’s apparent opposition to FISA directly contradicted the press release his underlings had issued in his name supporting reauthorization.
Reversing a major position in reaction to a TV pundit of course created confusion. A Republican official “close to intelligence matters on Capitol Hill” told CNN that chief of staff John Kelly’s “phone was ringing off the hook” after the ill-informed missive.
By 9:14, Trump was playing clean-up, writing on Twitter, “We need it! Get smart!”
Naturally, the White House was asked about this mind-bending reversal, in which it certainly appeared Trump did not understand his own administration’s policy.
But instead of clarifying, Sanders did what the Trump White House always does when cornered in its duplicity: She lashed out at a reporter for even asking about it.
“His tweet today was confusing. It was contradictory. It just was,” said NBC’s Hallie Jackson during Thursday’s briefing. “So how are people supposed to trust not us as reporters, but lawmakers, stakeholders, policy makers that the people representing the president’s position actually are?”
In response to Jackson’s perfectly rational and reality-based question, Sanders nastily responded, “I think that the premise of your question is completely ridiculous and shows the lack of knowledge that you have on this process.”
When Jackson pressed her on the confusion her boss had sown, Sanders snarled, “It wasn’t confusing to me, I’m sorry if it was for you.”
JACKSON: I’m hoping you can clarify something that you said a couple of times now, which is that a lot of people were confused by that tweet.
SANDERS: Actually, I didn’t say a lot of people, you guys said a lot of people were confused.
JACKSON: I think your quote was “we weren’t confused, but some of you were.”
SANDERS: Some of you, yeah.
JACKSON: So, I want to ask about that. Because Mike Pompeo, who’s obviously out talking about this, pushing for this, Tom Barts, a lot of people in the president’s administration were representing the president’s position on this, that he wanted this to pass. His tweet today was confusing. It was contradictory. It just was. So how are people supposed to trust not us as reporters, but lawmakers, stakeholders, policy makers that the people representing the president’s position, actually are?
SANDERS: I think that the premise of your question is completely ridiculous and shows the lack of knowledge that you have on this process.
JACKSON: Can you explain the discrepancy in the presidents
SANDERS: I’ve tried several times and I’ll do it a tenth time here. Look, the president supports the 702, but he has some very strong concerns about the FISA program more generally. Again, this is why he put out a memo last week outlining such, and why the DNI director put out a new policy this morning. I’m not sure what the confusion is here.
JACKSON: You are definitively saying that the president’s tweet this morning was in your view not at all confusing and not at all you think that’s an accurate statement? I just want to be very clear about this.
SANDERS: It wasn’t confusing to me, I’m sorry if it was for you.
Trump screwed up. He is spending an inordinate amount of his time simply watching television and the worst television one could choose amongst all the channels available. He has outsourced whatever thinking he has to the right-wing, racist, xenophobic, and inaccurate network that praises him to the stars.
That poor choice shows up in his words and actions, and it reverberates around the world, so that he and his underlings then have to clean up the mess he has made. But they are unwilling to take blame or admit fault, so they have a temper tantrum.
It is unprofessional, dishonest, and unbecoming. But it is what they do, every single day.