Former White House press secretary Jay Carney said the role has become unrecognizable under President Donald Trump.
“It’s not a job I recognize,” Carney told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
Carney, who served as former President Barack Obama’s press secretary from January 2011 to May 2014, said he “couldn’t imagine” being put in a position where he would have to defend falsehoods.
“If your credibility starts to erode, the president’s credibility starts to erode, the administration’s credibility, the country’s credibility,” he said.
The Trump press corps has grappled with issues of credibility in the past. In one of the most memorable incidents, just a day after the inauguration, then-press secretary Sean Spicer lambasted the media for accurately reporting the event’s crowd size.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said, contradicting all available data. Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Trump, said Spicer was using “alternative facts” when he disputed the inauguration coverage.
Spicer later said he regretted the incident, according to The New York Times.
Carney told Axelrod that such incidents would not have occurred in the Obama White House.
“People ask me, ‘What did you do when your president asks you to say something wasn’t true?’ I said it never happened,” Carney said. “It’s inconceivable to me that it ever would have happened.”