At one point in Donald Trump’s nascent administration, Republicans and White House aides alike tried to dismiss the Don’s tweets as a “just tweets.” But by June 6, the inimitable press secretary Sean Spicer was endorsing Trump’s thumbsy missives as “official statements.”
“Dear Congressman Conaway and Ranking Member Schiff,” wrote Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, on official White House letterhead. “In response to the Committee’s inquiry, we refer you to President Trump’s June 22, 2017, statement regarding this matter: ‘With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.” (emphasis added)
Let’s just ignore the obvious obfuscation of “I have no idea” and also the reporting that the White House counsel reviewed the language of that tweet he deployed. Beyond all that, the White House is now responding to official Congressional inquiries with letters quoting “statements”—otherwise known as tweets—from Trump. In other words, Trump’s tweets are now synonymous with official White House statements, and not just because Spicey says so.
At Monday’s briefing (and we use this term loosely), Spicer continued his ever-shrinking trajectory with an off-camera briefing in which he often said “I don’t know” or “I haven’t seen” or, on Trump’s views regarding Russian interference in 2016, check out Trump’s tweets:
So if you’re looking for statements of administration policy, just refer to @realdonaldtrump. And if you prefer something a little more formal looking that delivers the same trashy content, check out @RealPressSecBot.
Trump is likely over the moon now that now that everyone in the White House—from lawyers to legislative affairs to the press shop—is uniformly quoting his tweets as official statements. Frankly, so are we.
From a legal standpoint, it’s a genie his lawyers won’t be able to put back in the bottle. Good luck convincing judges that only some Trump tweets constitute official policy while others are just trash talk. Sure, it’s true that most of them are trashy but they’re also “official” now, thanks to the great foresight of team Trump.
One ruling earlier this month from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals against Trump’s Muslim ban already quoted recent Trump tweets declaring that the U.S. needs a “TRAVEL BAN…not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!”
Looking forward to a lot more of those solidly vetted “official statements.”