The White House is making every effort to scale down media access to the administration. They have gone from the traditional daily press briefing, to the occasional press briefing, and from the televised press briefing to the audio only press briefing to one earlier this week where even audio recordings by reporters were banned. Part of the reason may because Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders tend to look out of the loop when the answer to so many questions is, “I don’t know.” That is the theme of the Trump administration this week and this episode of As The Donald Turns; “I Don’t Know.”
• Donald admitted on Thursday that the White House has no audio tapes of James Comey, despite the president throwing that threat out there after he fired Comey as FBI Director two months ago. But he also “does not know” if other audio exists.
@realDonaldTrump 19m19 minutes ago
“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea…”
@realDonaldTrump 19m19 minutes ago
“…whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”
Of course his threat of the recordings is what led Comey to send his notes to a friend who subsequently gave them to the New York Times, which ultimately led to a special counsel being appointed. Well played, Donald.
• Thursday the Senate committee of one released the new proposed health care legislation. The committee was actually 13 male senators, but it leaked during the week that many of them had seen no draft of the bill, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his staff were actually writing the entire thing. There will be a lot in the coming days as to how it matches, or does not match, the House bill and how any reconciliation will, or will not, work. Someone will need to give Donald the Cliff’s Notes. He held a re-election campaign rally Wednesday in Iowa and admitted he did not know the contents of the bill. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I hope we’re going to surprise you with a really good plan.” He said he suggested the Senate just put more money in it so it has heart. Not good odds on that happening. Donald had earlier referred to the House version of the health care bill as “mean.” Of course that was after he took a victory lap in the Rose Garden after the House passed the bill.
• At the same rally, Donald also had an ingenious plan on how to save money on entitlements. “The time has come for new immigration rules that say … those seeking immigration into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years.” Awesome plan. If only someone had thought of it earlier. Oh wait, they did. This has already been federal law since 1996. Donald just “did not know.” His staff is saying most of it was rolled back under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, but the facts simply do not bear that out. Donald apparently “did not know” that government actually existed before he was sworn in.
• One thing that was clear from the rally. People who are not rich really should not be in government. Prompted by absolutely nothing in particular, Donald felt the need to defend his cabinet full of Goldman Sachs execs and billionaires. “Somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? And I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’” He added later, “I love all people, rich or poor. But in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?” You bet it does, Donald. I say if you were handed millions to start with by a wealthy father and got bailed out through many bankruptcies, you are just the kind of people we want running the country’s finances.
• The public is full of “I don’t know” right now. Tuesday, our favorite Sparkle Pony said this was the most transparent administration in recent history. Of course he “did not know” at the time that on Thursday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was going to walk to the podium for the press briefing and have the television cameras cut off so that the public could not see the briefing. This has become a growing trend for this White House. The less there is video or audio of what they say, and the less the public can see it, the less chance they take of looking foolish.
• Over the last two weeks, Sparkle Pony has acknowledged that he has not spoken to the president or “does not know” where the president stands with regards to climate change; the Russian invasion of the US election; the healthcare bill; whether or not the president has audio tapes of conversations with James Comey. In other words, Spicer’s go-to answer for everything has become, “I don’t know,” or “I think the president has made it clear in his comments (twitter)….” The press secretary for the President of the United States has no access to the president. He does not follow up on commitments to get information from the president because he likely is not involved in any high level meetings. Thus, it is just better to not televise the charade and pretend none of this is really happening.
• We know the Congressional Black Caucus will not be meeting with the president any time soon. They got a letter from tv personality turned Trump-eteer, Omarosa, inviting them to a social gathering at the White House. The caucus leaders indicated they were interested in discussing policy, not having cookies and punch. What probably irritated them the most was that Omarosa signed the letter above a self-given title, “The Honorable Omarosa Manigault.” Seriously? We are giving ourselves titles like now? Just wait until the staff here sees what I come up with for myself.
• We did get a bit of “We do know,” this week on election issues. At least 21 states had their voter registration rolls compromised. More than 198 million voters had their names, address, and birth dates exposed via a security breach after a company under contract to the Republican National Committee left the information in a vulnerable capacity. That is troubling enough, but allow us to connect a dot or two, for knowledge sake. Most of the information that was leaked came from a company named Data Trust, which had a $6.7 million dollar contract in 2016 with the RNC. They failed to secure the voter data base information. The president of Data Trust is Johnny DeStefano. If you would like to find Mr. DeStefano to discuss how he let your information get out, you can go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. DeStefano was recently hired as Director of Presidential Personnel for the Trump Administration.
Sleep well tonight knowing what you now know.