On Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump – with South Korean President Moon Jae-in sitting next to him – spent more than 30 minutes answering questions from reporters.
Or, more accurately, answering the questions he wanted to answer from reporters.
So when Trump was asked about his Monday meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss allegations that the FBI may have used an “informant” in his 2016 presidential campaign, the President was more than happy to opine away.
“If they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace to this country,” Trump said. “It would be very illegal.”
Then ABC’s Karen Travers asked Trump whether he still had confidence in Rosenstein. Here’s the exchange:
TRAVERS: “Mr. President, do you have confidence in Rod Rosenstein?”
TRUMP: “What’s your next question, please? Excuse me, I have the President of South Korea here, OK? He doesn’t want to hear these questions, if you don’t mind.”
The South Korean President was totally cool with Trump talking about his meeting with Rosenstein and Wray but was deeply bothered by a question about whether the President has confidence in Rosenstein?
Of course, he wasn’t. The only difference here is that Trump wanted to talk about the rumors of a confidential source embedded in his presidential campaign and had no interest in addressing whether or not he might get rid of the man in charge of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling.
The Point: This is hypocrisy, pure and simple. Trump always touts how open he is with the press. But when you ignore a question and try to shame a reporter for asking it simply because you don’t want to answer it, that’s not transparency – or anything close to it.