Political figures are so often guarded in public, we rarely get to hear candid moments when officials don’t realize they’re being heard. It makes moments like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) 2011 phone call with “David Koch” all the more interesting.
As you may recall, in February 2011, Walker wouldn’t talk to Democratic state senators, but he made time for someone claiming to be one of the Koch brothers. It was, however, Buffalo Beast editor Ian Murphy who called in the midst of a major Wisconsin political crisis, engaged a ruse. When Murphy, pretending to be David Koch, suggested a scheme involving “planting some troublemakers” among the pro-union protestors, the governor conceded that he and his team “thought about that.”
A day after the recording of the prank was released, Walker reiterated to local reporters that his office considered and rejected the idea of sending allies into the progressive protests to cause trouble for the pro-union forces. “As you’ve heard on the tape, we dismissed that and said that wasn’t a good idea,” the governor said at the time.
Amanda Terkel reports today, however, that Walker’s book puts an entirely new spin on the events.
“It was a really dumb thing to say,” writes Walker in his book, which will be released on Nov. 19 but was obtained by The Huffington Post in advance. “The fact is we never – never – considered putting ‘troublemakers’ in the crowd to discredit the protesters. The unions were doing a good enough job of that on their own with the agitators they were bringing in from outside the state. But I had made it seem like we had.”
It’s tough to know who to believe – Walker then or Walker now. On the tape, the governor didn’t know the public would hear his responses, and a day later, when Walker could have walked back his comments, he didn’t.
But now that he has a book coming out, the governor would have the public believe he “never” considered an underhanded tactic he already claimed to have considered?
Terkel’s report also noted, for what it’s worth, that Walker and his co-author went on to say that the governor considered the prank to be part of a divine plan from God to remind Walker about the importance of humility.