On Monday, Donald Trump went on the warpath about leaks emanating from the White House with this confusing tweet:
The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018
As we told you yesterday, many in the media have reported that Trump himself is he biggest leaker of all. According to the Observer, Trump himself provides the press with a cornucopia of exclusive scoops under an anonymous alias. In The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game, reporter Ronald Kessler writes,
Trump phones Maggie Haberman of The New York Times directly, as well as Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, and Jonathan Swan of Axios, feeding them stories attributed to “a senior White House official,” creating the impression that the White House leaks even more than it already does.
On Tuesday, Axios asked some of the Trump administration’s most prolific leakers to explain why they do it. Said one current White House official:
To be honest, it probably falls into a couple of categories. The first is personal vendettas. And two is to make sure there’s an accurate record of what’s really going on in the White House.
To cover my tracks, I usually pay attention to other staffers’ idioms and use that in my background quotes. That throws the scent off me.
Another current senior administration official said,
The most common substantive leaks are the result of someone losing an internal policy debate. By leaking the decision, the loser gets one last chance to kill it with blowback from the public, Congress, or even the president. Otherwise, you have to realize that working here is kind of like being in a never-ending “Mexican Standoff.” Everyone has guns [leaks] pointed at each other and it’s only a matter of time before someone shoots. There’s rarely a peaceful conclusion so you might as well shoot first.
Here are some other quotes from the White House leakers:
- Leaking is information warfare; it’s strategic and tactical—strategic to drive narrative, tactical to settle scores.
- Any time I leaked, it was out of frustration with incompetent or tone-deaf leadership. Bad managers almost always breed an unhappy workplace, which ultimately results in pervasive leaking. And there has been plenty of all those things inside this White House. Some people use leaking to settle personal scores, or even worse, to attack the president, but for me it was always to make a point about something that I felt was being unjustly ignored by others.
Here’s how Stephen Colbert addressed the White House leaks on Tuesday night’s Late Show: “This White House is so leaky, there are even leaks about why they’re leaking!”
And over on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah took on the “professional leakers” in the White House and says all the outrage is because the leaker in question leaked the Trump communication aide as saying Sen. John McCain’s opposition to Gina Haspel’s nomination to be CIA chief “doesn’t matter” because “he’s dying anyway.” And here’s why:
In Trump’s world, if you apologize, you’re admitting that it happened, and for Trump, that’s a sign of weakness. But here’s the thing: just because it wasn’t meant to get out, doesn’t mean you can expect everyone to act like it didn’t happen.
What do YOU think?
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