Sean Spicer opened his first White House Press Briefing appearance since Tuesday’s, when he claimed Hitler had not used gas on his citizens, announcing the U.S. had, for the first time, dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever used in battle. Spicer said the blast targeted a system of tunnels and caves in Afghanistan used by ISIS fighters “to move around freely, making it easier to target U.S military advisers and Afghan forces in the area.”
Spicer declined to say whether Trump was aware or had signed off on the decision to deploy this weapon for the first time, saying “I’m not going to get into those details” and would “let Defense handle lead on this one.” This, in marked contrast to press-briefing tradition in these situations – and to Trump’s detailed tick-tock about ordering the recent missile strike in Syria as he and China’s President Xi Jinping ate “beautiful” chocolate cake at Mar-a-lago.
So, reporters did not even try to ask Spicer whether it was no coincidence the so-called MOAB was dropped in the same province where Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar of 7th Special Forces Group had been killed on April 8, as a talking head had suggested earlier Thursday morning to Air Force Times.
Asked about the dizzying pace at which Trump recently has been flip-flopping on campaign positions – China no longer is a currency manipulator, NATO no longer is irrelevant, ordering that missile strike in Syria after arguing against military action there – Spicer insisted that it’s the circumstances not Trump, that have changed.
“f you look at what’s happened, those entities, or individuals in some cases, or issues, are evolving towards the President’s position,” he said. He pointed to NATO members having upped their defense spending. When asked to discuss the other flips, Spicer talked NATO some more.
With the federal government funded through April 28, and Trump’s non-flip-flopping on plans to up military spending by $54B and to build that wall on the Mexico border, Spicer got asked how those talks are going. “We’re making significant progress” and “feel good about the momentum,” Spicer answered,adding coyly, “I don’t want to get into who’s going to be naughty or nice.”