On Monday evening, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell of a story: "Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador." And depending on where you get your news, it’s either an overhyped #FakeNews nothingburger or a confirmation of your worst Trump-based fears. Fun times, indeed!
While running for president (and even before), Trump made protecting classified info a priority. If there’s one man who’d be less careless in these situations, he told crowds of his supporters, it’s Donald J. Trump!
Seriously, check out all the times he tweeted as much:
1. Investigations need to be independent when they involve the president.
The Justice Department’s investigation into the national security leaks is not independent. This is a very grave situation.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2012
2. It’s a bad idea for the president to get too chummy with the Russians, as that might compromise our national security.
3. Leaking intelligence is no joke. (Fun fact: One of the authors of the article cited in this tweet co-wrote Monday’s Post article about Trump’s leak to the Russians.)
4. We must have zero tolerance for a president involved in cover-ups.
5. Want accountability? Then investigations must be independent.
6. Seriously, independent investigations rule.
7. There should be outrage when a president leaks national security information.
8. And the media shouldn’t let up one bit.
9. Records were made to be broken, I guess?
10. If a president has no problem leaking national security secrets, why can’t he release his records — such as his birth certificate? (Or his tax returns?) What’s he hiding?
11. We really need to be more careful about who has access to classified information.
12. We shouldn’t stand for our "weak leaders who are threatening national security."
13. He even proposed some very … unconventional solutions.
14. But unfortunately, if you just say the classified info out loud — say, to the Russian ambassador — having it written down doesn’t really do much.
15. Our leaders must be careful with classified info. "This is a very big deal."
16. And being careless with that info makes one "not presidential material."
17. If someone compromises our national security and doesn’t face criminal charges, it’s evidence of a "rigged system."
18. And people who are careless with "highly classified information" are "not fit!"
19. So it’s probably best if we don’t let those people have access to national security information, according to Trump.
20. Here, Trump is worried about leaks of top-secret reports again, even though it turned out that NBC was referring to a declassified version of a report related to an ongoing investigation into Russian hacking and the release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton adviser John Podesta.
21. Having accused Obama’s administration of what he perceived to be corruption for leaking to NBC, Trump tweeted that it’s imperative we investigate the leaks — with no mention of the corruption.
22. This is serious, guys.
24. Nothing is more un-American than giving out classified info "like candy."
25. Leaking "has been a big problem in Washington for years."
26. Seriously, it’s a priority to find the leakers.
27. & 28. The FBI needs to track down the leakers. "FIND NOW."
29. & 30. Again, Trump tweets that the real story is the leaks and not the corruption. But why not both?
32. And so on.
33. And, uh, so forth.
Which brings us to today.
After initially denying the Post report about giving classified info to the Russians, Trump seemed to confirm it on Twitter Tuesday morning, saying that he has the "absolute right" to share whatever info he wants with whomever he wants. He’s right, too! As president, it’s within his power to declassify whatever material he wants.
So yes, what he did is likely 100% legal. But what he did doesn’t mesh with what he’s said in the past about being vigilant when it comes to national security, leaks, and classified information.
In tweets 34., 35., and 36., he offered a defense of his actions, appearing to confirm the Post’s story in the process:
And no, it doesn’t seem he ever quite finished that last thought. Maybe a staffer intervened to stop … the leak?
Trump, who built his reputation on being tough on national security and able to protect classified info, appears to be doing everything he once railed against.
The hypocrisy between Trump’s words and Trump’s actions is clear; it might even seem funny if it wasn’t our national security he was putting at risk. His reported carelessness with national security makes him, in his own words, "NOT FIT!" to keep America and its allies safe.
If this bothers you (it probably should), now’s a pretty great time to reach out to your member of Congress and ask that they hold the president accountable.