President Donald Trump’s war on leaking has reached a new high in wake of White House aide Kelly Sadler’s tasteless “joke” about Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) dying. Now it seems aides are fighting about the leaks among each other and they’re doing it in front of the president.
After eight years of a presidency known as “no drama-Obama,” once again the Trump White House has taken another path. Axios reported Sunday that Trump brought communications staff together in the Oval Office after the leak was out. It was then that Trump promised Sadler she would not be fired, but that he wanted to know who the leakers were.
Sadler, Mercedes Schlapp, Raj Shah, and John Kelly were all present, though the door remained open for anyone to overhear what was being said to further leak to reporters. Sadler blamed Schlapp, her boss, for being one of the worst leakers, the source revealed. Schlapp defended herself in subsequent conversations following the meeting.
Sadler then proceeded to sing about other staffers she named as leakers. However, pointing fingers at leakers has become the new way to attack someone a staffer does not like, knowing that it is a powerful tool that prompts Trump to react. There’s never any evidence presented with the accusation, merely the finger pointing.
“The allegation — like a previous internal meeting to deal with leaking — ultimately got leaked to us,” Axios reported, poking fun.
Making the accusation in front of Trump is a new level of accusation, the report alleged.
McCain’s daughter, Meghan, noted this week that leaks in Trump’s White House reveal a lack of loyalty from his own staff.
“It’s always a sign of a bad campaign or a bad candidate or a bad politician when you have rampant leaking problems, because it shows that you don’t have loyalty to the principal or the message,” McCain said. “Clearly you have to look in your own house on that one.”
Former FBI director James Comey noted in his memos that Trump seemed overly obsessed with finding the leakers and getting rid of them.