President Trump wants you to be alarmed by “low-life leakers” who are sharing classified details with the media about his inner circle’s connections with Russia. But he also wants you to believe the “FAKE NEWS media” is partnering with Democrats to invent the whole scandal.
Although it’s unclear how the president can reconcile those two logically incoherent positions, Trump has been pushing this contradictory narrative on Twitter for the past several days.
In a series of tweets posted on Wednesday and Thursday, he alternatively described the Russia scandal as “non-sense” and a “made up” story — and, simultaneously, as a story based on “information” being “illegally given” to the media by “low-life leakers.”
It can't be fake and made up — and also classified and leaked. Gonna have to pick one. pic.twitter.com/6dF5oeIYJg
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 16, 2017
Trump could run with the narrative that the story is “fake news,” suggesting the details are all fabricated, in which case the media wouldn’t need leakers inside the intelligence community to learn about team Trump’s connections with Russia. Or he could blame “low-life leakers,” which suggests the media and Democrats are getting their information from inside the intelligence community rather from fabrications. But both cannot be the case.
Thanks to recent events in the Trump administration, the president might be better off opting for a damn-the-leakers approach.
The Washington Post story that culminated in the resignation of Trump’s national security adviser earlier this week resulted from leaks about the details of Michael Flynn’s pre-inauguration communications with the Russian ambassador. Altogether, the Post’s reporting cited nine anonymous current and former officials. Are we supposed to believe that Trump signed off on the departure of one of his leading intelligence officials after just 24 days because of a made-up story?
Of course, Trump could simply overlook the fact that the narratives he’s pushing are incoherent and forge ahead anyway. After all, the Trump administration has already established a precedent for this type of thinking.
When White House Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway was confronted with the contradiction between the administration’s repeated claims that Trump’s inauguration was the largest ever and the evidence clearly indicating it wasn’t, she infamously characterized the administration’s position as an “alternative fact.” So perhaps Trump’s conflicting position on the Russia scandal is just an example of Trumpian “alternative logic.”