President Donald Trump said Friday that his spokespeople should not be expected to speak accurately about his positions and the goings-on within his administration because he is a “a very active President with lots of things happening.”
He also threatened to cancel press briefings, suggesting via Twitter that they might instead be replaced with written statements “for the sake of accuracy.”
Trump’s communications team has come under fire this week for its misrepresentation of the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Vice President Mike Pence and White House spokespeople including Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders all explained Trump’s decision to dismiss Comey as the result of a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, only to have the president himself tell NBC News that “regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey.”
That disparity led to terse exchanges at Thursday’s press briefing, where Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, struggled to explain why explanations of the controversial firing from her and other administration officials had been so off base. Friday morning, Trump came to the defense of his communications staff and, as he has done often, attacked the media.
“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”
In a pair of earlier posts to Twitter, Trump wrote that “the Fake Media is working overtime today!” and reiterated a point he has made regularly, both online and in media interviews, that “again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”
The president, in his interview that aired Thursday with NBC News, said his decision to fire Comey was linked to the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference into last year’s presidential election as well as any ties between Trump associates and Russian government officials. The FBI director’s firing has raised concern in some corners about the impartiality of that investigation moving forward and has renewed calls for an independent investigation.
“When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,” Trump told NBC anchor Lester Holt. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”