Mon, 22 Oct 2018

Trump declares ‘leakers are traitors and cowards’

By Sheetal Sukhija, New Hampshire State News
16 May 2018, 06:30 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, U.S. - Gripped with leaks, the White House is trying everything to stop the series of unauthorized disclosures to the press that has left several members of the Trump administration shamefaced ever since the start of the U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidency last year.

Now, Trump is hoping that maybe, a good scolding, coupled with some public shaming will do the trick.

With that in mind, the U.S. President took to Twitter and called leakers “traitors.” 

Trump wrote on Twitter, “The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!”

The last sentence of his Tweet stood out the most, and immediately made headlines.

Even though Trump wrote, “We will find out who they are” some reports stated that the President has not had much luck with the task.

A few weeks into his presidency, Trump told reporters, “We're going to find the leakers, and they're going to pay a big price.”

Since then, which was one of the first few times the White House suffered leaks. 

Many leaks, mostly embarrassing ones, followed soon after.

Last summer, for instance, Trump made his most concerted effort to plug leaks, when he filled the White House communications director's role with Anthony Scaramucci, who brought to the job zero public-relations experience but a lot of tough talk.

Commenting on his approach to eradicate leaks, Scaramucci said, “I’m going to fire everybody; that’s how I’m going to do it. You’re either going to stop leaking, or you’re going to get fired. ... If I’ve got to get this thing down to me and Sarah Huckabee [Sanders], then the leaking will stop.”

However, Scaramucci was immediately slammed for being a leaker in his own right. 

In an interview with Politico, Scaramucci said of his intent to fire assistant press secretary Michael Short before he told Short himself. 

Short later learnt that he was fired through media reports. 

Then, in an interview with the New Yorker, Scaramucci even unloaded on White House colleagues Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon and later told the conversation was off the record, in “spirit.”

Ten days later, Scaramucci was fired. 

Recently, The Washington Post published accounts of Trump's private conversations with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, based on disclosures by senior administration officials.

Despite facing a rebuke, details of the president's phone calls and amongst other discussions continue to reach the media. 

Last week, New York magazine chronicled Trump's late-night chats with Fox News host Sean Hannity, as described by White House aides.

Earlier this year, White House chief of staff, John Kelly ordered a new ban on personal cell phone use within the West Wing, in a bid to bolster cyber-security protocols and curbing leaks.

Reports pointed out that Trump’s recent statement attacking leakers comes after last week's disclosure that a White House press aide, Kelly Sadler, privately mocked the health of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has brain cancer. 

After the leaks emerged and continued to make headlines, deputy press secretary Raj Shah repeatedly declined to issue a public apology or condemnation on behalf of the administration.

He, however, pointed out that Sadler had called McCain's daughter to apologize in private.

Shah said, “If you aren’t able, in internal meetings, to speak your mind or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a very difficult work environment. I think anybody who works anywhere can recognize that.”

Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the president said in a media interview that the White House has made progress in its war on leaks.

Conway said, “It's not so much leaking as using the media to shiv each other, and that was going on quite a bit at the beginning of this administration, and it's less so now.”

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