For the second day in a row, NBC’s Peter Alexander and Yahoo’s Hunter Walker asked questions from the far-left in Wednesday’s White House press briefing, insinuating to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that people should be concerned that President Trump is behaving like a mentally ill authoritarian.
Alexander kicked things off part way through the tense briefing, smugly informing Sanders that he had “a couple of questions,” all of which he’d “try to make these simple.”
Following a brief retort from Sanders, Alexander first asked if Donald Trump Jr. committed treason by attending the now-infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer. Sanders responded that it was “a ridiculous accusation,” but Alexander’s craziest question came moments later.
Alexander seemed to be channeling CNN’s Brian Stelter when he wondered:
If I can ask you, after the tweet about nuclear threats — the nuclear button tweet threat. Should Americans be concerned about the president's mental fitness? That he appears to speak so lightly about threats regarding a nuclear button?
Sanders replied that the American people shouldn’t be worried that Trump is mentally ill, but instead “be concerned about the mental fitness” of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un because of his “repeated threats” and increased missile tests.
For the briefing’s final exchange, Walker chose to ask this one day after his golf questions that included an allusion to the infamous white box truck:
In the last day or so, we've seen President Trump attack the press, the Justice Department and now his former ally Steve Bannon. By attacking critics and key institutions in our democracy, isn't the President engaging in authoritarian behavior?
The White House Press Secretary wasn’t appear startled by this asinine assertion in the same week as the anti-regime protests in Iran, but Sanders nonetheless told Walker that Trump isn’t a dictator.
Instead, she argued that Trump “is simply responding often to the news of the day” and the country is in “a dangerous place” if Trump “can't respond aggressively to an individual like the leader of North Korea that continues to threaten Americans.”
Walker hit back by comparing Trump to the murderous North Korean leader: “But when the President calls for critics to be fired from their jobs, that's not the President of North Korea.”
So classy. Torpedoing the media’s credibility and appearance of neutrality, one day at a time.
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Here’s the relevant transcript from January 3's White House press briefing
White House Press Briefing
January 3, 2018
3:26 p.m. Eastern
PETER ALEXANDER: A couple of questions. I'll try to make these simple. Did the President’s son —
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: You don't think I can handle the hard ones?
ALEXANDER: — did the President's son, Donald Trump Jr., commit treason?
SANDERS: That's a ridiculous accusation and one that I’m pretty sure we’ve addressed from here before and that’s in reference to comments made Mr. Bannon, I refer you back to the ones that he made previously 60 Minutes where he called the collusion with Russia about this President a total farce. So, I think I would look back at that. If anybody’s been inconsistent, it's been him. Certainly, it hasn't been the President or this administration.
ALEXANDER: So to follow-up on today. Did the President met any of Donald Trump jr.'s guests at that June 2016 Trump Tower?
SANDERS: As the President has stated many times, no and he wasn't part of that or aware of that.
ALEXANDER: Final question.
SANDERS: John Decker?
ALEXANDER: If I can ask you, after the tweet about nuclear threats — the nuclear button tweet threat. Should Americans be concerned about the president's mental fitness? That he appears to speak so lightly about threats regarding a nuclear button?
SANDERS: I think the President and people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea. He’s has made repeated threats. He's tested missiles time and time again for years and this is a President who's not going to cower down and he's not going to be weak and is going to make sure he does what he's promised to do which is stand up and protect the American people.
ALEXANDER: But Sarah, isn’t possible that he could —
SANDERS: Sorry, Peter. I’m going to keep moving.
ALEXANDER: But isn’t possible that he could misinterpret that? You said he's unpredictable. So, couldn't he misinterpret a tweet like that if he’s so unpredictable?
SANDERS: I don’t think it’s — I didn't say that. I think it’s extremely clear what the President's position is and — our position on North Korea hasn't changed since the beginning. This is a President committed to protecting Americans, and protecting the people of this country and he's not going to back down from that.
HUNTER WALKER: In the last day or so, we've seen President Trump attack the press, the Justice Department and now his former ally Steve Bannon. By attacking critics and key institutions in our democracy, isn't the President engaging in authoritarian behavior?
SANDERS: Not at all. The President is simply responding often to the news of the day. I think if the President can't respond aggressively to an individual like the leader of North Korea that continues to threaten Americans, then that's a dangerous place we don't want to go down.
JIM ACOSTA: Sarah, one last question.
WALKER: But when the President calls for critics to be fired —
SANDERS: — sorry, go ahead?
WALKER: — from their jobs, that's not the President of North Korea.
SANDERS: I’m sorry. I couldn't hear the first part of the question.
WALKER: We’ve seen both you and the President call for critics to be fired from their jobs. That’s —
SANDERS: I don’t think it's necessarily critics. We’re certainly happy for people that have different opinions, but there's a difference between different opinions and different facts and people are entitled to an opinion but they’re not entitled to their own facts and we have a big problem with people putting out misleading information. Those are very different things.