With his administration in chaos, his approval rating in the toilet, and his Russia scandal closing in on him, Donald Trump seems less interested than ever in doing the job of president and more interested than ever in alienating those still on his team. The latest signal came today when it was revealed that Trump had Sean Spicer inspect the phones of White House aides in a paranoid attempt at hunting down any supposed leakers.
Staffers were all forced to toss their phones on a table for inspection on Sunday. Instead of any leakers being caught, the demoralizing incident appears to have merely motivated White House staff to leak word of the crackdown to CNN. When Spicer then tried to insist that it was entirely his idea and that Trump wasn’t even aware of the crackdown, White House staff then leaked the fact that Trump had indeed signed off on the plan in advance.
In other words, Trump’s and Spicer’s paranoid attempt at cracking down on White House leakers appears to have merely resulted in even more embarrassing dirty laundry being leaked about themselves. Now that it’s all gone south, Spicer seems to be trying to take the blame for the failed crackdown in order to curry favor with Trump.
In addition, Spicer took the opportunity to blame himself for the decision to ban a number of major news outlets from Friday’s press briefing, insisting that Trump didn’t know about the move. But seeing how Spicer appears to lying about Trump’s involvement with the phone inspection crackdown, and Spicer’s penchant for lying most of the time since he became Press Secretary, it’s a reasonable assumption that he’s lying about Trump’s involvement in banning media outlets.
Meanwhile, no one appears to have been caught in the leaker crackdown. Politico first exposed the incident on Sunday, and CNN is now documenting the subsequent leaks emerging about the incident. Palmer Report has kept a running list of the thirty-two people who have exited the Donald Trump administration in controversial fashion over the past month, but none of them fit the timeframe of the phone crackdown. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report