Contradictions in the statements coming from the Trump White House have become an increasingly difficult subject for the White House briefings where Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is often tasked with denying obviously false statements. Sanders has developed a maddening cadence where she simply repeats an answer to another question or restates an obviously unresponsive answer. That pattern was on display Monday where Sanders simply said that President Donald Trump was speaking truthfully when he made two demonstrably contradicting statements about supporting one of the immigration bills in Congress.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted “HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II.” However, when the immigration bill stalled in Congress, Trump tweeted the following “I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill, either GOODLATTE 1 or 2, because it could never have gotten enough Democrats as long as there is the 60 vote threshold.”
Matt Nussbaum of Politico asked Sanders “Why would the president lie about something like that?”
Sanders responded, “He didn’t. The president has talked all along, we’ve laid out the priorities and the principles that we support, that we wanted to see reflected in legislation. But at the same time the president wasn’t aggressively lobbying members, because he knew that democrats in Senate still were unwilling to actually come to the table.”
After the word “didn’t” the answer veered off into the ether. The fact is that Trump did call for the passage of Goodlatte II and then later said that he did not push for its passage.
There is a legitimate concern over a White House which denies clearly established facts and does not attempt even a plausible explanation. It is possible that Trump could claim that he did not actively lobby Congress but he clearly did push for passage in his public statements. The utter disregard shown over such contradictions is deeply concerning for the public and deeply damaging for the Administration.