Human egg timer and press secretary Sean Spicer has something to tell us: when the 45th president blustered on Twitter about Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower, he wasn’t actually blaming Obama, or even referring exclusively to wiretapping. No, no — his words were laden with nuance that—somehow—must have escaped us.
In the interest of fairness, let’s examine the evidence once more:
Hmm. The animate blood pudding oozing about the Oval Office seems to refer specifically to Obama here. But we’ll keep going.
Why no, Donald! As a matter of fact, a president cannot whimsically order a wiretapping. And if you were wiretapped it was because there was reasonable cause to suspect you of illegal activity. By the way, you really do seem to be certain that Barack Obama was the mastermind here.
It might just be me, but I don’t think our fearless leader is mincing words.
Gracious me, now he’s misspelling three-letter monosyllabic words. Trump must have been awfully distressed over the thought of Obama, and Obama alone, ordering a wiretapping. By the way, Mr. President, I think you might want to read up on the Watergate scandal before you draw parallels. I highly recommend the film Dick — it really holds up, as does the soundtrack.
It’s hard to imagine alternative readings of the above tweets, but as CNN reports, Spicer does have some clarifications. Let’s hear what he has to say.
“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,” Spicer said on Monday. “The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.”
Spicer also emphasized that when Trump wrote “Obama” he was referring to his administration in general — not making accusations about the POTUS’s personal involvement. Singling people out on social media simply isn’t Trumples’ style.
The Justice Department was tasked with presenting evidence for wiretapping by Monday, and so far nothing has emerged. As for the White House, it still declines to provide evidence for the President’s claims. It therefore makes sense that Trump’s administration would backpedal today, proffering a more capacious interpretation of these rash statements.
But as CNN observes, Trump refers specifically to wiretapping in his accusations and does not employ quotation marks in every tweet, like Spicer indicates. FBI director James Comey has even sought a public refutation of the President’s remarks.
Jokes aside, it’s no small ordeal to accuse the president of spying on a presidential candidate. But the possibility of meaningful action seems bleak — it’s more likely that we’ll continue to be inundated with hand-wringing and nonsense instead.