White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer kicked off Monday’s briefing with a TV News Show and Tell segment, in which he handed a check for President Trump’s first-quarter salary – all $78K of it– to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg, while cameras recorded the ceremonial hand-over.
Spicer noted this began fulfillment of Trump’s promise to donate his POTUS salary to charity.
Later, when asked about calls from officials in New York and Florida for Trump to reimburse taxpayers out of his own pocket for the considerable cost of maintaining security at Trump’s two non-White House residences at Trump Tower and Mar a Lago, Spicer pointed to the pots of money Trump could be making as a businessman were he not serving as POTUS. And, Spicer reminded the reporter about the top-of-the-briefing $78K giveaway, complaining, “at what point does he do enough?”
Spicer chided reporters in the room for what he described as lack of interest in a Bloomberg report about former national security adviser Susan Rice. According to Bloomberg, Rice requested the identities of “U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign.”
“It’s interesting the … lack of interest in these developments,” Spicer remarked sternly. Asked if White House believes Rice may have done something illegal, if the report holds water, Spicer pulled, “I’m not going to start down that road” from his bag o’ deflections, and quickly returned to his thoughts about, media short shifting the Rice report.
Democrats have “gone insane” in moving forward with their filibuster of Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch, Spicer said. Calling it a “dangerous precedent,” Spicer said, “This is not about voting against somebody … but about using filibuster for something it was never intended for.”
Senate Democrats on Monday secured the necessary 41 votes to block nomination of Gorsuch, who will, even so, become the court’s next associate justice by the end of the week. Republicans have promised to use their “nuclear option,” changing the rules to cut off Supreme Court filibusters with a simple majority vote, rather than the currently required 60 votes.
Over the weekend, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blamed Gorsuch himself for not earning their support.
“When Gorsuch refused to answer the most rudimentary questions in the hearings, after there were many doubts about him to begin with … there was a seismic change in my caucus,” Schumer said on NBC’s Sunday Beltway show Meet the Press.