Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to his mobile phone during a lunch stop, Feb. 18, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C.
Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Trump reportedly thinks it’s ‘too inconvenient’ to use a secure phone

It’s no secret that Donald Trump makes frequent use of his mobile phone. Not only does the president have an active Twitter account, but he uses his phone to circumvent White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, receiving private advice from trusted confidants.

In fact, Trump apparently has two smart phones, one of which he uses to make calls, the other of which he uses to tweet and access a handful of news sites. The trouble, as Politico  reported, is the president’s disinterest in proper security protocols.

President Donald Trump uses a White House cellphone that isn’t equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications, according to two senior administration officials – a departure from the practice of his predecessors that potentially exposes him to hacking or surveillance.

The president, who relies on cellphones to reach his friends and millions of Twitter followers, has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use, according to the administration officials.

While Barack Obama turned over his devices every 30 days for a security review, the current president believes that would be “too inconvenient.”

Politico’s report added, “The president has gone as long as five months without having the phone checked by security experts. It is unclear how often Trump’s call-capable phones, which are essentially used as burner phones, are swapped out.”

And in case the security risk weren’t already obvious enough, note that while Obama’s phones didn’t have a camera or a microphone, the phone Trump uses to make calls has both.

In the early days of Trump’s presidency, there were a variety of reports that the Republican was making use of an unsecured phone, to the frustration of his aides. I’d assumed the issue would be addressed soon after. Evidently, it wasn’t.

There are a few interesting angles to this, but it’s worth pausing to pay particular attention to the hypocrisy.

Two years ago, Americans were told that Hillary Clinton’s email server, during her tenure as secretary of state, was one of the most important issues facing the nation. Even if her server was never compromised, the argument went, her carelessness and recklessness, putting sensitive information at risk, was an unforgivable transgression.

During the presidential campaign, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) went so far as to formally request that Clinton be denied intelligence briefings – because her server was proof that she couldn’t be trusted to handle secrets.

So here’s my question: where are those folks who pushed that line now? Where’s the breathless coverage of Republicans who were hysterical about their interest in IT security?

Donald Trump, Hypocrisy and Technology

Trump reportedly thinks it's 'too inconvenient' to use a secure phone