Spicer just demoted Manafort from “campaign staffer” to “a gentleman who was employed by someone for 5 months” pic.twitter.com/r9elCLhYm8— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 23, 2017
Things are getting out of control so quickly that White House press secretary Sean Spicer isn’t even bothering to come up with lies to defend President Donald Trump anymore.
Case in point: During the daily White House press conference, CNN’s Sara Murray plainly asked Spicer if he could “say unequivocally” that “associates of Trump did not collude with suspected Russian operatives and coordinate on the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”
This briefing came on the heels of the not-so-shocking revelation that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort secretly worked to benefit Moscow.
Murray’s question was pretty straightforward and merited an equally simple answer or, in case of Trump’s representatives like Kellyanne Conway and Spicer himself, even a simple lie.
However, that’s not what happened.
Instead of addressing the question, Spicer went off on a tangent, calling out Murray for using the word “associates.” He then went on to say how Manafort was nothing but “a gentleman who was employed by someone for five months.”
“The way that the term ‘associates’ is thrown around, I don’t understand what that means,” Spicer said. “If you’re talking about employees of the campaign, employees of the transition or in the White House, that’s one thing.”
FYI: Manafort wasn’t just some employee. He headed Trump’s campaign for several months — and when the reporter reminded Spicer of that fact, he tried to deflect the discussion again by calling out media over the usage of the term “associates.”
Spicer isn’t the only Trump representative trying to distance the POTUS from former aides accused of sketchy Russian ties.
Conway this week also said Trump “doesn’t know” his former aides like Carter Page or J.D. Gordon, when, in fact, Page served as a member of Trump’s foreign policy team in March 2016 and Gordon managed the national security advisory committee under Sessions.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque