Nature abhors vacuums and so when a vacancy occurs it finds someone to step into the breach and fight the battles for the President. Reports in the Press over the last few days have stated that President #Donald Trump has been less than happy with the public performances of Press Secretary Sean Spicer and #senior advisor Sallyanne Conway. For this reason it was no surprise that Senior Advisor Stephen Miller went up to bat for the Oval Office. Despite a congratulatory tweet from the President, the results were not very satisfactory.

Staffers old and new

When Stephen Miller made himself available to ABC News hosted by George Stephanopoulos it was an encounter of a new White House staffer with a journalist that had been a political advisor to President Bill Clinton and therefore had a more than passing knowledge of the workings of the Oval Office.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Miller was asked to address the renewed accusations of voter fraud in New Hampshire during last year’s elections on November 8th where both Donald Trump and Senator Kelly Ayotte were defeated. These claims have been constant themes of speeches and presentations by the President who refuses to accept that while he won the Presidency on the Electoral College votes, he lost the popular vote by early three million votes.

It should not have been a surprise therefore that Stephanopoulos did not accept Miller’s explanations on simple face value. The current staffer simply repeated the President’s beliefs and despite repeated requests by the journalist could not supply any details of the accusations. His statement was simply that he believes the President 100%.

The unanswered question

Later on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Miller was also embarrassed on another theme when asked about the President’s attitude to the reports that Senior Advisor General Michael Flynn's contact with the Russian Ambassador that had been making headlines over recent days.

Advertisements

As reported by The Guardian his answer was “It’s not for me to tell you what’s in the President’s mind. That’s a question for the president. Asked and answered.”

This behaviour by Stephen Miller begs the question, what was he doing being interviewed if he had no new information? Zealousness may be a trait sought by #President Trump for his staff, but it does not provide information.

Questions and answers

Miller’s actions on the weekend must be seen in the light of the performances by Sean Spicer and Sallyanne Conway over recent weeks. Their brand of press relations has been to repeat the President’s statements, but not to provide the information required to verify them.

The Press cannot parrot the President’s statements, or to share his early morning tweets. The Press’ role is to question the President and to ensure that the information passed on to the public is correct. If the President believes something is “fake news” it is up to him to prove it so. If the Press makes a mistake it must answer for it, but the same also applies to who supplies the information, be it the President or the simplest staff journalist.

Advertisements

A zealous staffer is not the answer to the clash between the White House and the Press Corps. A modern Democracy is based on exchange and transmission of verifiable information and so far the White House has not being carrying out its duties.

As a matter of priority at the beginning of the new week President Trump and his Senior Advisors should add improving their relations and information systems to the Press and therefore to the public on their to do list. Otherwise Donald Trump risks seeing another of his staffers becoming a subject for ‘Saturday Night Live’.