Spicer Rips Unnamed Sources Hours After Trump Tweets Story With Unnamed Source
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference for the first time since taking a break during Donald Trump's first trip abroad as the president.
During the press conference, Spicer bashed the use of unnamed sources in reporting just hours after Trump tweeted a Fox News article based on information from an unnamed source.
As Spicer took questions during the conference, the conversation turned toward the bombshell allegations recently directed at White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, who is also Trump's son-in-law.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported Kushner had approached Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about setting up a secure communication channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin.
Kushner reportedly suggested they use Russian diplomatic facilities for this, in what the Post described as "an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring."
In other words, Kushner allegedly tried to set up a backchannel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government that couldn't be monitored by the US government in the months before Trump's inauguration.
This is unusual, and has placed Kushner under a great deal of scrutiny.
The Post gathered the information for this story via unnamed U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.
Trump doesn't seem to practice what he preaches when it comes to anonymous sources.
The president has frequently complained about the use of unnamed or anonymous sources, especially in relation to the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russian interference in the US presidential election.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted, "Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention names... it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!"
But, on Tuesday, Trump tweeted an article from Fox News, which dealt with the recent reports surrounding Kushner, which quoted an unnamed source.
The Fox News article discredited the idea Kushner approached Russia about setting up a backchannel.
The president essentially told people not to trust reporting based on "sources say" less than 24 hours before retweeting something from Fox News that ended with "source says."
Trump has condemned the use of anonymous sources when they've been linked to reporting that's painted his administration in a negative light, but when a story with unnamed sources fed a narrative he liked, he endorsed it.
Reporters took issue with Trump's apparent double-standard on this topic as they questioned Spicer on Tuesday.
Here's how Spicer responded:
In spite of the Trump administration's efforts to discredit the use of unnamed sources, it's been a common aspect of reporting for a long time.
These sources are not "made up by fake news writers," as Trump claimed.
They're often officials within the White House or some other part of government who aren't permitted to speak on the record and could face consequences for doing so, but feel the need to share information with the public via the press.
So, yet again, Trump's tweeting put his administration in an awkward position.