Now that the FBI is publicly investigating whether President Donald Trump’s campaign had any ties with the Russian government and if it corresponded with the foreign operatives as they attempted to influence the U.S. election, the White House has gone into a damage-control mode and is doing everything in its power to distance the commander-in-chief from the potential scandal.
Since this hefty responsibility mostly falls on Sean Spicer’s shoulders, being the press secretary and all, it is going about as good as anyone could expect.
A few hours after FBI Director James Comey appeared in front of the House Intelligence Committee and testified there is an ongoing agency investigation into the matter, a reporter asked Spicer if Trump still stands by “his comments that he’s not aware of any contacts that his campaign associates had with Russia during the election.”
The press secretary acknowledged former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s controversial relationship with the Russian ambassador, but then went on to describe the disgraced ex-adviser as a “volunteer of the campaign.”
Then, to distance himself even further from the situation, Spicer made another strange claim.
Spicer: Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort played a "very limited" role for a "very limited period of time." https://t.co/q3gqLwbrqb— CNN (@CNN) March 20, 2017
“There’s been discussion of Paul Manafort, who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time,” he retorted during the press briefing, prompting ABC’s Jon Karl to exclaim what everyone was thinking: “But he’s the chairman of the campaign!”
Trump hired Manafort as a consultant in March 2016 and by mid-June he was put in charge of the entire operation. he left the campaign later in August because the Ukrainian authorities were reportedly investigating him for receiving $12.7 million in illegal payments from the country’s former pro-Russia ruling party.
No matter how you look at it, Spicer’s claim that the person hired to manage the campaign played a “very limited role” in it is just an outlandish lie.
The reaction on Twitter pretty much summed up how everyone felt about Spicer’s statement.
Boneless wings and ranch dressing have played a #VeryLimitedRole in my weight gain— Jamie McCarty (@JamieMcCarty) March 20, 2017
In the history of physics, Einstein played a #VeryLimitedRole.— Keith Britt (@keithadambritt) March 20, 2017
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy played a #VeryLimitedRole— John Berman (@JohnBerman) March 20, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlo Allegri