At this afternoon’s press briefing, White House correspondents wondered who from Team Trump would resign today, what with it being a Friday. They also wondered whether Donald Trump was subscribing to the “Madman Theory” of being POTUS, or was just messing with reporters when he called them back Thursday night, to watch him stand with a bunch of military leaders he’d had over for dinner and say the gathering was the “calm before the storm,” or if chaos was actually coming – more chaos than usual in Trumpworld, that is.
But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also got asked if the president thought Democrats should have to give back campaign money they had received from Hollywood mega-producer/harsh Trump critic Harvey Weinstein, in wake of a New York Times report about decades of sexual harassment allegations against him.
“I think that’s a decision for those individuals to make,” Sanders responded, not rising to the bait. “Whether or not that’s money they want to take, that’s up to them. That’s certainly not a decision for us to make,” she added, restrainedly.
Members of the press seemed particularly perplexed that Trump, previous night, called them back into his presence to watch him pose with senior military leaders and their spouses, saying it might be the image of “calm before the storm.” CNN’s Jim Acosta told Sanders about this “theory in Washington the president subscribes to The Madman Theory” that says he’s posing as one in order to keep his adversaries guessing and asked her if there is anything to that theory.
If you guessed Sanders drew herself up to her full height and said she might have expected CNN to suggest Trump was mad, sorry, you guessed wrong. She agreed with Acosta that Trump “certainly does not want to lay out his gameplan for our enemies.”
And when asked about people in Washington who “catch their breath” when Trump makes such gobsmacking and unhinged-ish remarks, Sanders smiled.
“You have a smile on your face” Acosta noted, asking her what he should read into that.
Sanders said she was picturing Washington politico holding their breath.
So, to recap: Madman Theory – check.
Another reporter asked if she could exclude the possibility the president was “actually just being mischievous and “messing with the press a little bit” with his “calm before the storm” gag. “I wouldn’t say ‘messing with the press,’ Sanders responded, noting we have “serious world issues” involving North Korea and Iran who continue to be “bad actors.” The president, she insisted, is “always looking for ways to protect Americans.”
Sanders also took a number of questions about the future of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had to call an insta-presser this week when NBC News reported he wanted to resign and called Trump a “f**king moron”.
“Does the president have confidence in Kelly –since it’s Friday and we expect a resignation today,” the reporter asked. Sanders assured the room Trump continues to have confidence in Tillerson, as he had said immediately after Tillerson’s presser-for-audience-of-one.