Last month, while writing a secret health care bill behind closed doors, Senate Republican leaders said they were proud to be part of a “transparent and open” process. They did not appear to be kidding.
And as it turns out, Republican confusion over the meaning of the word “transparency” isn’t limited to Capitol Hill. At yesterday’s press briefing, a reporter asked Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to explain the “plague of amnesia” affecting Donald Trump’s team when it comes to disclosing interactions with Russian nationals. It led to this exchange:
SANDERS: Every single day we do our best to give the most accurate information that we have, and we continue to do that every single day, and have offered to be as transparent as possible with all committees and anyone looking into this matter.
REPORTER: This doesn’t suggest to you a pattern of not trying to be transparent?
SANDERS: Not at all. Again, like I said, our goal is to be as transparent as humanly possible.
There was a certain irony to the circumstances: the president’s spokesperson made these comments off-camera, because the White House has decided it’s occasionally uncomfortable with the public being able to see these press briefings – which, of course, is the opposite of transparency.
Sanders’ claims also follow reports that White House aides, with Donald Trump’s personal approval, drafted a misleading statement over the weekend on behalf of Donald Trump Jr. in response to the New York Times’ questions about his controversial meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the campaign.
Worse, we can keep going down this road. Team Trump is keeping White House visitors’ logs secret. Team Trump is keeping the president’s tax returns secret. Team Trump has been less than forthcoming when it comes to readouts of the president’s conversations with foreign leaders. Team Trump hasn’t answered questions about where the money went from the president’s inaugural committee. Team Trump has even tried to hide information on the president’s golfing habits.
Trump World’s “goal is to be as transparent as humanly possible”? Please.