Tag Archives: WH press office

‘I will never lie to you’

Kayleigh McEnany made news this week by answering a direct question with a remarkably direct response.

She is the fourth White House press secretary to work in the Donald Trump administration. The first three were doozies. Sean Spicer opened his tenure by arguing with reporters over their coverage of the inaugural crowd that greeted Trump’s presidency; Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted to lying at times to the media; Stephanie Grisham never held a White House press briefing.

Now we have McEnany, who comes to the administration after serving as a Trump apologist on the Fox News Channel.

A reporter at McEnany’s initial press briefing got right to the point: Will you pledge to always tell the truth?

“I will never lie to you,” she answered.

Well now. Given that she works for the Liar in Chief, and given that lying often is essential to protecting his political standing — which is most important of all to Donald Trump — the press secretary has issued a mighty tall promise.

We all must hold her accountable for it.

WH press flack is leaving; but the lying will continue

I now will join the chorus of those who are saying that Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s pending departure from the White House will be no great loss to the cause of transparency, accountability … and telling Americans the truth about what their government is doing.

Sanders has served for a couple of years as White House press secretary. I was one who thought at the very beginning of her tenure that she could repair the mess left by her predecessor, Sean Spicer.

Oh, my. I was so wrong!

We now have heard, via special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into the Russian collusion matter, that Sanders actually admitted to Mueller’s legal team that she lied on behalf of the president.

Astounding, yes? Yep, it is.

The regular White House press briefings have been relegated to some form of dormancy. This comes after Sanders spent a good deal of her time parroting Donald Trump’s mantra that any news that he deems critical to be “fake news.” She even uses the term “fake news” while talking to the very journalists who were questioning her.

Sanders’s most ferocious critics have suggested she has attacked the First Amendment. Surely she has joined the president in denigrating media reporters, editors and others charged with the duty of chronicling the news coming from the Trump administration.

I am one observer who won’t miss her.

The task now for the president is to find a successor who will talk candidly, openly and — and most critically — truthfully when faced with the media’s often-aggressive questioning.

I know it’s a huge stretch to think Trump will find such a person, given his own paranoia about the media.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s upcoming departure merely closes another dark chapter in the administration she served.

You can resign now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Let’s see now. How is this supposed to go?

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press flack, is supposed to deliver briefings to the media covering the White House. And the media representatives gathered before her are supposed to accept what she says as the truth.

Is that how it works? Even after special counsel Robert Mueller’s damning report has revealed Sanders to be as terrible a liar as her boss, the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump Sr.?

In no way can Sarah H. Sanders continue in her role as the spokeswoman for the White House. She needs to quit.  She needs to disappear from the White House Press Briefing Room. She needs to no longer speak publicly about policy matters relating to the commander in chief.

She cannot be trusted any more than her boss, the most untrustworthy man ever to sit in that big ol’ chair behind the Oval Office desk.

Sanders was quizzed on morning news talk shows this week after  Mueller’s report went public. Mueller chronicles how Sanders lied to the media about the reasons Trump fired FBI director James Comey. She said at the time that “countless” FBI personnel had expressed dismay at Comey’s leadership. It wasn’t true. Mueller called her on it. When pressed by media reps, Sanders said she committed a “slip of the tongue.” She didn’t mean “countless.” Oh, but then she said later that “many” had spoken ill of Comey.

She is without trust. Sanders cannot speak with any veracity any longer.

It’s not that Trump deserves a truth-teller to speak for him. The man cannot tell the truth himself. Thus, he is getting what he deserves. The losers are members of the media, who report the news to the public.

If this individual, Sanders, cannot speak to the media directly, then her job is over. She has nothing left to do, nothing to offer.

You may quit any time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Robert Mueller has revealed you to be a liar. In no way can you be trusted from this moment forward.

WH press flack redefines rhetorical elusiveness

I am going to offer a tip of the hat — sort of — to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The White House press secretary is either (a) exceedingly quick on her feet or (b) gets a thorough briefing from other West Wing staffers on how to answer direct questions.

Sanders got a question today about Donald J. Trump’s answer when he was asked by a reporter whether he still thought Russia posed a threat to our electoral system, as it did in attacking it during the 2016 presidential election.

The president said “no.” He said Russia did not pose a threat.

Sanders got the question at the White House press briefing: Did the president really mean to say Russia was not trying to interfere in our midterm election?

She said the “no” response to the question was the president’s way of saying “no more questions” from the media.

Isn’t that clever? Slick? Cagey?

It’s also untrue.

Sanders trotted out that amazing response to chief of staff John Kelly’s visible body language while Trump — at the NATO meeting in Brussels — was scolding the Germans over their supposedly being under the “total control” of Russia. A reporter asked her about Kelly’s reaction. She said he was angry because he wanted a full breakfast, but instead got only “pastry and cheese.”

That, dear reader, is hilarious.

Except that I ain’t laughing. Neither should you. It’s deceptive. She’s lying for her boss.

Get over the media criticism, will ya White House?

Donald J. Trump’s White House press operation has developed as thin a skin as the boss.

Someone on the media pops off stupidly and the White House gets all over this reporter’s case. Then it launches a dual-front campaign accusing a cable network of practicing a double standard: one for conservative commentators and another one for liberals.

Get over it, White House!

ESPN talking head Jemele Hill popped off the other day about the president, calling him a white supremacist who surrounds himself with other white supremacists. I’ll just state here that Hill’s comments were stupid and had no place coming from someone who has made a name for herself commenting on matters that have nothing to do with the president of the United States and his alleged political tendencies.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is ratcheting up the White House attacks on ESPN. C’mon, young lady. Don’t you know about that First Amendment thing in the U.S. Constitution, the one that protects the media from government pressure? Sanders has said ESPN should have fired Hill. She made the statement while conducting a White House press briefing; her suggestion, thus, becomes something of a government policy statement relating to the conduct of a “free press.”

The president himself takes great joy — or so it seems — in blasting what he keeps calling “fake news” outlets. He calls the media “the enemy of the American people.” He singles out individual reporters at press events, criticizing their character and their organization’s integrity.

Now his press flack has joined that chorus.

I agree that Jemele Hill shouldn’t have said what she said, using her standing as an ESPN talking head to make her point. She has apologized. ESPN said it won’t punish her any further.

The president has much bigger fish to fry than this. I can think of, oh, North Korea, DACA legislation, tax reform … you know, those sorts of things. Media criticism? Set it aside and let other media — and even some bloggers out here in the heartland — take the talking head offenders to task.

Spicer quits, chaos continues

The longest-running open secret came to fruition today with the resignation of Sean Spicer as White House press secretary.

Spicer was thought to be on his way out long ago. He sealed the deal today when Donald J. Trump announced that Anthony Scaramucci would become the new White House communications director.

That meant curtains for Spicer, who reportedly disagreed vehemently with the choice.

To be candid, I am left with decidedly mixed feelings about Spicer’s departure. At one level, I had some sympathy for a press flack who was charged with defending presidential policies in front of the White House press corps. The president, though, made that job even more difficult — indeed, damn near impossible — by contradicting his own messages hourly. Spicer then was left to fend for himself as he sought to explain what the president meant to say or do.

At another level, I was dismayed that Spicer — the former press spokesman for the Republican National Committee — continued in the role for as long as he did.

Consider, too, the strange — to my ears, at least — statement by Scaramucci about Spicer’s departure. “I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money,” he said. Huh? What about saluting his service to the country? Or to the president?

Then, of course, this came from the president himself, who said in a statement that Spicer will succeed, adding, “Just look at this ratings.” What the … ?

I suppose we’ll all just wait for Spicer to tell us what really went on behind the scenes in a White House known above and beyond anything else for its confusion and chaos.

Do you expect the new press flack, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the new communications boss, to assuage media concerns about the White House’s ability to administer anything?

Neither do I.

Keystone veto will stick, for now

President Obama has vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline.

However, his reason seems a bit nit-picky.

The White House said Obama doesn’t necessarily oppose the pipeline, but he opposes the process that delivered the bill to his desk.


The pipeline is supposed to ship oil produced from Canadian tar sands through the middle of the United States, ending up in ports along the Texas Gulf Coast. It then will be shipped overseas. Proponents of the bill say it will create jobs and will help ensure that the world’s supply of oil remains high, thus helping ensue cheaper prices for the oil around the world.

Although I do support the pipeline, the president’s veto makes a modicum of sense.

He thinks an environmental study process should have been allowed to run its course. Congress short-circuited that process — which includes a complete review by the State Department.

“Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” the veto message said.

As Bloomberg News reported: “White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama’s rejection was strictly about the legislation and not the project. It’s ‘certainly possible’ that Obama would eventually approve the pipeline once a State Department review is completed, he said, without giving a timetable.

“’The president will keep an open mind,’ Earnest said, repeating past administration language.”

The White House said the review is part of an intricate longstanding process that’s been honored over many years. Congress’s decision to fast-track the pipeline didn’t allow a thorough review of the total impact of the project.

Perhaps the State Department can complete its review in relatively short order, deliver its findings to Capitol Hill and the White House — and then we can go through this legislative process all over again.

Let’s do it the right way.