President Donald Trump is blaming both the press and his own press secretary for the negative coverage he has received for firing FBI Director James Comey.
Two White House sources tell Axios that Trump believes that his communications team has done a poor job of defending him in the aftermath of Comey's firing and rejects the notion that he erred by not giving them enough time to prepare. Apparently, senior White House officials share Trump's view that the underlying issue was one of incompetence from the communications staff rather than inadequate planning by Trump and his top advisers, and Trump has been openly asking people about whether he should fire press secretary Sean Spicer.
The only communications person he is reported to view favorably right now is deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — even though she inadvertently admitted that Comey's firing really was about the Russia investigation. But she may not be better than press secretary Sean Spicer. Remember when Spicer's attempt to stop leaks was itself leaked? Here's what happened Thursday, according to Politico.
Sanders gave staff members a stern lecture on leaking to the media during a staff meeting Thursday morning, according to several people familiar with the incident, saying it was damaging the White House. The lecture seemed to take staffers by surprise, said one person present.
Notably, Trump isn't blaming himself for his current predicament, despite the fact that he undercut his own press team when he told NBC's Lester Holt on Thursday that he would have fired Comey "regardless" of whether the Department of Justice advised him to do so. Politico reports that Trump's press team strongly advised him against appearing on the interview, but that Trump insisted because he believed he needed "to take the situation into his own hands."
As one adviser told Politico, "Trump goes out there and creates a total mess, and then blames others for not being able to fix it. I don’t pity them."
Trump also took to Twitter on Friday morning to vent his ire against the press itself.
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