The White House can’t get its (fake) story straight over Donald Trump’s two-week old baseless accusations that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. A few days ago, Sean Spicer weakly claimed that Trump didn’t really believe it happened. Yet once both Paul Ryan and Congress found no evidence to support Trump’s claims, Trump believed it again, and Spicer cited a Fox News analyst’s speculation as proof that British intelligence helped Obama wiretap Trump. Naturally, this incited bloody hell in the U.K. and has resulted in a hilariously speedy apology.
Spicer had insisted that Fox News learned from three intelligence sources that Obama “went outside the chain of command,” bypassed U.S. intelligence, and “used GCHQ.” It would have been irresponsible enough to repeat this even as theory during a press briefing, but Spicer quoted the speculation as fact. In response, both GCHQ and British Prime Minister Theresa May slammed the accusations are “nonsense.” At least two calls transpired between British officials and the White House, and CNN relays how National security advisor H.R. McMaster tried to explain away Spicer’s comments as “unintentional.” Yet ultimately, the The Telegraph says Spicer apologized, and May issued another statement:
A senior administration official told CNN that Spicer and McMaster offered what amounted to an apology to the British government.
“We’ve made clear to the US administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored. We’ve received assurances that these allegations won’t be repeated,” May’s spokesman said.
Even by Trump administration standards, dragging one of the U.S.’ closest allies into this mess to help Trump (not) save face is a terrible move. Indeed, it’s no wonder that Don Lemon used a Billy Madison scene to sum up the Thursday press briefing portion on wiretapping. Don’t think for a moment that this is over, however. Next time, the White House may blame Canada.