Trump’s Latest Excuse To Keep The WH Visitor’s Log Secret Is Truly Infuriating
Donald Trump is running out of excuses as of why he wants to keep visitors to the White House hidden from the public. But today, Press secretary Sean Spicer dropped another absurd excuse to keep the logs of names secret: “Lobbyists deserve privacy too.”
The decision not to release White House visitor logs, which was made last week, sparked a public outcry from the left and the right.
Spicer told reporters on Monday that the previous administration “scrubbed” the logs of names they did not want to be made public, and therefore that there was no reason to release any list of visitor names.
“This is the policy that’s existed from the beginning of time since [logs] were kept through the last [administration], and that last one was a faux attempt,” Spicer said. “They would scrub whoever they didn’t want to put out.”
Publicly posted Obama White House logs were indeed missing the names of a few visitors. But they did include the names of tens of thousands of guests in entries that informed a number of critical stories about the administration, including some by the most vocal Trump supporters in media.
Spicer cited the Obama White House’s omissions to defend the current administration’s decision to keep the public entirely in the dark about the individuals meeting with top White House staff.
The White House announced Friday that it was scrapping transparency data tools used by the previous administration and abandoning plans to release similar visitor logs.
“We recognized that there’s a privacy aspect to allowing citizens to come and express their views,” Spicer said. “There’s an opportunity for the American people who want to have a conversation and be able to share their view” to do so without being publicly identified.
Spicer’s comments came amid increasing scrutiny of lobbyists now employed in the administration who have been secretly exempted from ethics rules that would bar them from taking meetings with their former colleagues in the influence business.
The lack of visitor logs will also make it more difficult to determine when private individuals in the government or public relations business seek access and influence that does not trigger lobbying reporting requirements.
Reporters pressed Spicer on those points on Monday in light of Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington and root out official corruption and special interest influence.
“Members of the swamp can walk into the White House and there’s no recourse to the public to hold them to accountability,” one reporter pointed out.
Spicer reiterated insisted that Trump’s decision to keep visitors secret is an attempt to safeguard information that might compromise national security information or violate the privacy of individual visitors.
Isn’t it ironic that Trump wants to protect the privacy of lobbyists and foreign operatives while selling the American people’s right to privacy to internet companies?