Anthony Scaramucci – he of the 10-day stint as White House communications director – resurfaced Tuesday morning, sitting for an interview with “New Day” anchor Chris Cuomo.
In that conversation, Cuomo asked what seems like a relatively easy question: Does White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tell the truth from behind the podium in the press room?
Here’s how Scaramucci responded: “I think she does the best of her ability to tell the truth but also to protect the President, and so I think that there’s a fine line to draw between those two things.”
Which is a very interesting way to answer the question.
Lets break down the Mooch’s response a bit.
Sanders, according to Scaramucci, “does the best of her ability to tell the truth.” Which isn’t the same thing as saying that Sanders tells the truth. It’s like if your parents ask you whether you made your bed. If you say, “I did the best of my ability to make the bed,” they’ll know you didn’t make the bed.
What Scaramucci is saying then is that Sanders tells as much of the truth as she can. Which, not to sound like a broken record, is not the same thing as telling the plain old truth.
The second part of Scaramucci’s quote – in bold here – is even more revealing: “I think she does the best of her ability to tell the truth but also to protect the President …”
What Scaramucci seems to be suggesting is that telling the truth and protecting the President are two conflicting missions. And that Sanders’ ultimate loyalty has to be to Trump, not the truth.
There’s no question that the position of White House press secretary forces everyone who holds it to balance the competing interests of their boss (the President) with their other boss (the American people as represented by the White House press corps). All press secretaries try to walk that “fine line” – in Scaramucci’s words – between fighting for the President’s priorities and adhering to the truth.
Never before, however, have we had a press secretary – and this includes Sanders’ predecessor, Sean Spicer, as well – who has so clearly come down on the side of defending the president at all costs.
From Spicer’s famous/infamous insistence that the crowd sizes for Trump’s inauguration were the largest ever to Monday’s argument by Sanders that Trump calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocohantas” somehow reflected poorly on the Massachusetts Democratic senator, this administration’s mouthpieces have consistently chosen to blindly defend the President – even when that means bending or breaking the truth.
That, of course, is the direct result of Trump’s own tendency to simply make up facts that suit the version of events he wants to be true. When you have a President that regularly misstates or outright lies 5.5 times a day, you have only two options: 1) Tell the truth and be fired/forced out or 2) Go along with his misstatements and factual inaccuracies and keep your job.
Or, to borrow Scaramucci’s phrase, do “the best of her ability to tell the truth but also to protect the President.”