The White House has yet again denied a report and referred to it as “false.” Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about an Associated Press report published Friday morning that said the Department of Homeland Security was seeking to mobilize 100,000 National Guard troops to round up and deport immigrants living in the US illegally.
His responded by saying “it is false.”
He added “It is irresponsible to be saying this. There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants. I wish you guys asked before you tweeted.”
What is questionable about his statement is that the wire service had asked the White House for comment multiple times before publishing the report, according to an AP reporter.
The White House seems to have a pattern when it comes to answering questions about its most controversial policy proposals. They first wait for a draft memo of a proposal to be released to the press, then they stay quiet and refuse to comment on it, and finally when the report is posted they accuse the media of never having sought comment to begin with.
Trump himself uses the same pattern, and has multiple times called the media “fake news.” Earlier this week he called Democrats out by saying that Russia’s interference with the election was a made up story to use as an excuse on why they lost.
Maggie Haberman, a New York Times political correspondent, implied that it was “almost like there’s a pattern here.”
“These are taxpayer-funded spokespeople,” Haberman wrote, referring to the White House and DHS press offices. “If memo is not under serious consideration, why not say it ahead of time?”
“Taxpayer press office that has hours to devote to focusing on palace intrigue stories and profiles does not respond to routine questions,” Haberman said.
Rep. Keith Ellison’s press secretary, Isaiah Breen, also noticed the pattern on Friday.
“1. Get request for comment on a story. 2. Refuse to reply to request for comment. 3. Deny once article is up, and don’t mention comment request,” Breen tweeted in response to Spicer’s statements.
1. get request for comment on a story
2. refuse to reply to request for comment
3. deny once article is up; don't mention comment request
— Isaiah Breen (@isikbreen) February 17, 2017
“Not answering the AP but then responding to the AP report by saying it’s wrong seems like a good way to perpetuate a fake news narrative,” New York magazine’s White House correspondent, Olivia Nuzzi, tweeted on Friday.
Not answering the AP but then responding to the AP report by saying it's wrong seems like a good way to perpetuate a fake news narrative.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 17, 2017