One of the worst stories for the White House this past week was the New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous senior official. Yet, President Donald Trump and his staff can’t seem to move on from it. To make matters worse, Bob Woodward’s new expose on the White House arrives on bookshelves this week.
While writers like Omarosa Manigault-Newman and Michael Wolff might be good for sales, they lack the long-standing journalistic integrity that Woodward enjoys. For his book to have garnered such paranoia from the White House and the president before the release means the week will likely be another difficult one for Trump.
During a panel discussion about the op-ed and the book, former Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) spokesperson Symone Sanders laughed at the White House for failing to knock the stories off of the front page.
“If this person is so concerned they should go to Congress. The midterms are less than 60 days away,” she said of the op-ed writer. “This is more of an issue for Republicans right now than it is Democrats. We should be concerned many people in his orbit think he’s unfit to serve. I think that is cause for some type of oversight, some type of action. I don’t think we’ll see it from this Republican Congress.”
Host Erika Hill called it “fascinating” watching the media blitz from the White House while they manage to keep the story at the top of the news feeds.
“Which makes no sense to me,” Sanders confessed, laughing.
“They are keeping it top of mind, as you say especially from your communications background, it doesn’t make any sense,” Hill agreed. “Kellyanne Conway, saying just this morning to Jake Tapper, her feeling is that this letter is all about sowing discord and chaos. They don’t seem to refute the claims.”
Instead, the White House is attacking the delivery method, the writers and the media.
Hill observed they are “not coming out there and saying, ‘This is all terrible false,'” she said. “It’s all, ‘Hey, I’ll take a lie detector test, it wasn’t me.'”
RealClearPolitics editor A.B. Stoddard said that it is clear the White House knows this is an obsession for Trump and that they’re on the hunt for the person.
“They want the person to pay a dear price that the president believes this is a national security threat,” she said. “Mike Pence wants us to know — the vice president — to know he didn’t do it. He’s willing to take a lie detector test. They want focus off the substance, which you mentioned, which is so dramatic and so profound and so potentially damaging to the whole country.”
She agreed that the White House isn’t denying any of the claims in the op-ed, while they are working on a document to refute the book.
She cited Woodward’s interview Sunday, saying that it’s obvious they’re making it about the goose chase for the source instead of what’s wrong with the White House.
Watch the full discussion below:
Ken Starr is an awful choice for Trump’s legal team because he’ll look like a hypocrite: Former federal prosecutor
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