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Trump calls for end to unnamed sources shortly after his staff gives unnamed briefing

Trump, who once pretended to be his own spokesman, has a long history of not caring about the transparency of sources.

President Donald Trump speaks to CPAC on Friday CREDIT: CNN
President Donald Trump speaks to CPAC on Friday CREDIT: CNN

Speaking before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, President Donald Trump continued his ongoing criticism of the press and demanded an end to the longstanding practice of quoting unnamed sources.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” he opined. “Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.”

Trump was frustrated with reports that his administration had pressured the FBI to exonerate him and his campaign team for alleged improper coordination with the Russian government. The unnamed sources at the FBI revealed that the bureau had rejected this requests.

Several reporters quickly pointed out the hypocrisy in this statement. Just minutes before his speech, they had attended an off-the-record White House briefing at which they were given information by unnamed members of Trump’s staff that the administration wanted them to disseminate about the Russia scandal.

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Trump’s concern for transparency of sources is further contradicted by his own record of providing information to the press while pretending to be his own publicist. The Washington Post reported last year that he repeatedly posed as fictitious spokesmen named “John Barron” and “John Miller” during interviews in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Without anonymous sources, whistle-blowers would be unable to share information with journalists without risking retaliation. Trump has made it abundantly clear that he has no tolerance for leakers within the federal government and falsely claimed leaked information was classified.

He correctly asserted that this would have a chilling effect on journalism, boasting that without unnamed quotes, “you will see stories dry up like you’ve never seen before.”

Trump, who applauded and encouraged leaks that undermined his campaign opponent, has himself relied on unnamed sources to verify his false claims.

Following the diatribe against reporters, the president returned to his favorite subject, reminding the audience that he won the November 2016 election, despite polls that indicated that he would not.