Trump’s first day in Washington of 2018 made it clear his resolutions don’t include Twitter abstention, leaving Sarah Sanders to mop up the spills
In another break from protocol under Barack Obama, the White House did not release a list of the books that Donald Trump took on holiday over Christmas. The 45th president is better known for golfing and tweeting than reading.
On his first day back at the Resolute desk on Tuesday, Trump made clear his new year’s resolutions do not include abstention from Twitter. Between 7.09am and 1.11pm he fired off 10 messages on topics including Iran, an aide to Hillary Clinton, tax cuts, North Korea, airline safety, the New York Times, Dreamers and veterans.
It was then left to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to mop up the spills at the first daily briefing of 2018. In short, this may have been the first day of term in Washington, a city that mostly goes dark over the holiday season, but it felt very much like business as usual.
Sanders gave a relatively conventional opening statement, praising an “organic popular uprising organised by brave Iranian citizens”. For a moment it could have been any White House dealing with geopolitical matters of great import. But soon enough came the questions about those tweets. It seems the old fallback from the podium – “the president’s tweets speak for themselves” – no longer holds.
Trump’s second post of the day, complete with misspelling of “aide” and echoes of the “Lock her up!” chant, had said: “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others.”
What, asked one reporter, did the president mean when he said the “deep state” justice department? Does he mean there is a shadow government plotting to sabotage him?
Sanders parried: “Look, the president finds some of those actions very disturbing and he thinks that we need to make sure, if there is an issue, that it’s looked at … Obviously, he doesn’t [think] the entire…