Following the devasting political and logistical loss of his National Security Adviser after less than a month on the job, President Donald Trump once again tries to distract the American public away from his administration’s ineptitude.
On Tuesday White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that on late Monday, Trump asked his now-former National Security Adviser Micheal Flynn for his resignation, amid what Spicer described as “trust” issues. Recently, it was uncovered that former Attorney General Sally Yates warned White House counsel about potentially false statements made by Flynn regarding his conversations with a Russian official during the transition period last December. Yates reportedly contacted the White House on January 27 with the information.
Before Yates’ disclosure, Flynn along with other White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, told the public that he never discussed lifting President Barack Obama’s Russian sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. However, according to the communication intercepts by U.S. intelligence which Yates shared with the White House, Flynn may not have told the truth. But following Yates’ initial disclosure, it took the president almost three weeks to finally address the allegations.
According to Spicer, Trump first made sure Flynn was cleared of any legal wrongdoing before taking several weeks to deliberate the separate “trust” issue between himself and his national security adviser. After the White House formally announced Flynn’s resignation, Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning:
“The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
Spicer doubled down on Trump’s assertion that the media was ignoring the “real story.”
“The president tweeted this morning the real story is leaks,” Spicer was asked by a CBS News reporter Steven Portnoy.
“It is leaks,” the press sec exclaimed. “If you think about it, all of this information was leaked. I mean, again, I know we’ve got this me lecturing you about what the story should be. I think there’s a real story here.”
Spicer acknowledged that while the president’s former national security adviser’s misleading statements and potentially dangerous interactions with the Russian government was a “good story,” the press had a responsibility to report the bigger story involving the leaks that brought the story to the public’s attention.
“I think there’s also a story here where the amount of leaks that are coming out of people that are entrusted with national security secrets and classified information are leaking it out,” Spicer said. “That’s a real concern for this president.”
It’s clear that once again the Trump administration is trying to downplay the seriousness of an apparent blunder by a now-former top White House official who served as the president’s primary filter regarding matters of national security. This lame attempt at deflection is just another example of how Trump’s willing to go to extremes to avoid taking any personal responsibility. Up until Monday evening, Trump was telling the public that he stood behind Flynn. However, after that position became untenable, the president needed to find another narrative to obscure his personal embarrassment.
The “real story” has nothing to do with the “leaks” that brought the truth to light, but it also eclipses Flynn’s deception and arguably treasonous behavior. The real story is about President Trump and his dangerously constant need to pacify his bottomless narcissism at the expense of even U.S. national security. The American public must continue putting pressure on the administration by encouraging news outlets to ask the right questions about the “real” stories that matter.
Featured image (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)