Friday morning, in a tweet that went mostly unnoticed among Donald Trump’s other nonsense messages about the stock market and then about Hillary Clinton, the FBI, and the so-called “Fake News Media,” the president unwittingly revealed a fact that he may not have counted on.
After attempting to weather hit after hit from first the published excerpts of Michael Wolff’s new tell-all book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, then from the fact that the book was in such high demand that the publisher moved up the release date, Trump was desperate to discredit the author and the people quoted in the book. But the term that he used to describe his former top adviser, Steve Bannon, was a pretty unfortunate slip-up:
The Mercer Family recently dumped the leaker known as Sloppy Steve Bannon. Smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
No, I don’t mean the nickname that Trump applied to the Breitbart impresario, apt for his appearance though it may be. The word Trump accidentally — or more likely, without thinking twice — ascribed to Bannon that I’m talking about is “leaker.”
When an insider lies, that’s one thing. In fact, this administration is already well-versed in what happens to liars, with Mike Flynn, Rick Gates, and Paul Manafort as glaring examples. But when an insider is described as having leaked information, by definition it means that the information provided is true.
This is a fact that has been lost on this administration for a long time, but not often pointed out. In the early days of the Trump presidency, all fronts fired on finding “the leakers” who were trickling out information to the press. But in those days, the information was known to be true, and not necessarily in dispute.
Now that the information has been compiled into an unflattering book that serves as a disturbing look into the inner workings of the Trump White House, the word has taken on an entirely new meaning.
By calling Steve Bannon a “leaker,” Trump is admitting that the information in Michael Wolff’s book is true — as though we needed even more confirmation, after reports surfaced that he was considering firing Katie Walsh from his America First PAC, and after half a dozen staffers publicly began considering leaving the administration over this.
There’s no coming back from this.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images