Things got pretty testy Friday morning when President Donald Trump threatened to end all daily White House press briefings because “it is not possible” for his staff to speak with “perfect accuracy” to the American public. Yes, you read that correctly.
The Washington Post reports that Trump made his comments after the reasons he gave for firing FBI Director James Comey during an NBC interview Thursday were directly contradicted by statements made by others in the White House, including Vice President Mike Pence, meaning that the various explanations were at best misleading and, at worst, flat out lies.
Trump sent out two tweets Friday suggesting that he would cancel White House press briefings and instead hand out written statements to communicate with the public.
Different explanations have been given for Comey’s firing, and the stories coming out of the Trump White House have changed each day since it happened. As the Post notes, this calls into question the credibility of not only press secretary Sean Spicer but also Pence, principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.
Spicer told reporters Friday that the president was “dismayed” that the focus was on the accuracy of the statements delivered by his spokesmen.
“The president is an active president. He keeps a very robust schedule,” Spicer said. “I think sometimes we don’t have an opportunity to get in to see him and get his full thinking.
“There are times you read a story where someone is trying to pull apart one word, one sentence … and make it a gotcha thing,” Spicer added.
At the beginning, Trump’s aides said that Comey’s firing came at the suggestion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, but by Wednesday the word was that Trump had been considering firing Comey for a long time, and made the final determination after hearing from Sessions and Rosenstein.
All along, his spokesmen have maintained that Trump’s decision had nothing to do with the ongoing Russia investigation that Comey was overseeing.
During a Thursday interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump said that he made the decision to fire Comey on his own and that he would have done it regardless of what Rosenstein recommended, adding that he had been thinking of “this Russia thing with Trump” when he came to his decision to fire Comey.
“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story; it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election th they should have won,” Trump said.
Read more at the Washington Post.