Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He claimed the national chair of his presidential campaign "played a very limited role" in his presidential campaign.

Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chair for five months during 2016, once again came under scrutiny this week for his ties to Viktor Yanukovych, the corrupt former president of Ukraine who was deposed as a Russian puppet in 2014. Manafort joined the campaign in March, and took over as the campaign chair in May. He held this position until August, when similar revelations about $12.7M in secret payments from Yanukovych forced him to leave the campaign. Manafort is currently wanted for questioning in Ukraine.

Today, however, press secretary Sean Spicer made the astonishing claim that Manafort--who, among other duties running the campaign, was instrumental in Trump's selection of Mike Pence as a running mate--"played a very limited role." 

Manafort was not the only figure being disappeared from Trump campaign history today. Spicer also characterized Michael Flynn (forced to resign as Trump's national security advisor over Russia ties) as a "volunteer," and Kellyanne Conway told reporters that Trump "doesn't know" two other senior campaign advisors, Carter Page and J.D. Gordon. Both are under scrutiny for their own ties to Russia--Gordon for engineering a pro-Russia plank in the GOP platform that was the Trump campaign's only contribution to the process, and Page for mid-campaign trips he took to Russia.

So what?

  • Even by Trump's standards, claiming that his campaign chair had "a very limited role" in his campaign is an absurd and insulting lie.
  • A president who wasn't worried that his campaign might have colluded with a hostile foreign country to get him elected wouldn't be so desperately distancing himself from so many of its senior staff.