On Friday morning, President Trump fired off yet another headline-making tweet about James Comey, this time suggesting the possibility of a recorded version of their White House conversations:
James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Given the ridiculousness of this tweet, the necessity of clarity is evident: is Trump recording James Comey and others that he has conversations with in the White House? This question was posed to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on multiple occasions, each time resulting in a vague non-answer. Here’s a video of Spicer claiming to have “nothing to add,” to Trump’s tweet:
Spicer does NOT deny that Trump recorded Comey or has a White House recording system: “the president has nothing further to add” pic.twitter.com/s84oYAvBpp
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 12, 2017
So, Trump’s White House is essentially not denying the possibility of Oval Office conversations being recorded. This is undoubtedly going to stir up some controversey that the Trump team is going to have to tackle. Presumably, if Trump decided to decisively clarify himself for once instead of firing off a ludicrous tweet and instructing his surrogates to talk about it, this would all blow over soon enough.
“The tweet speaks for itself.” Said Spicer. No, it doesn’t. If it did, then presumably there would be an easy answer to questions of clarification, such as stating that there are in fact no recording devices set up to tape the President’s supposedly private conversations with prominent figures; Trump was just using Twitter as a medium to insinuate that if there were a tape of their conversation, Trump would be given corroboration. Or, if there is a recording system set up, tell the truth about it.
For once, no matter how the situation seems, these bad answers given by Spicer are not his fault. They’re Trump’s fault. This wasn’t another blunder predicated on Spicer misspeaking, but rather an exhibition position of general ignorance about the taping scenario as a whole. Spicer, as Press Secretary, is the President’s megaphone, echoing what he tells him to say. If what he tells him is damaging, such as this taping fiasco, then so be it. It’s a stupid move, but it isn’t Spicer’s.