Monday, January 2, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He deployed flacks to argue that nobody really knows what happened with Russian hacking--except Donald Trump himself.

Press secretary Sean Spicer went on CNN to claim that it was too soon to draw any conclusions, since the final report commissioned by President Obama wasn't due to be released until next week. Its conclusions are not in doubt.

At the same time, advisor Kellyanne Conway noted that "The President-elect receives intelligence briefings that you and I are not privy to." However, the President-elect does not receive intelligence briefings that the President or the various intelligence-gathering agencies are not privy to.

Trump has maintained that Russia did not seek to influence the election on his behalf in the face of unanimous agreement by the intelligence community that it did. He said on Sunday that he would reveal some of what he (and he alone) knows "on Tuesday or Wednesday." [No such reveal came on either day. --1/12/2016]

Why is this a bad thing?

  • Presidents should not ask the American people to ignore information they find inconvenient.
  • Demanding that people defer to them because they alone have secret knowledge is what authoritarians do, and it hasn't worked out very well for American presidents either.