Spicer, who called Manning “someone who has given away this country’s secrets,” did not directly answer a question about whether Trump would take any steps to undo Obama’s decision.
Obama said Tuesday that the seven years Manning has served behind bars was enough punishment and that she had been given an excessive sentence. A senior White House official also noted that Manning had expressed remorse for her crimes.
Manning was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 after she transmitted documents to WikiLeaks that came to be known as the Iraq and Afghanistan “War Logs.” She also shared a video that showed a U.S. Apache helicopter in Baghdad opening fire on a group of people that the crew believed to be insurgents. Among the dead were two journalists who worked for Reuters. She also leaked documents pertaining to Guantanamo Bay prisoners, as well as 250,000 State Department cables.
Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, came out as transgender after her conviction. She said in her statement last fall that the three years since she had been sentenced had enabled her to reflect on her actions and her struggle to adjust to the military.
Spicer, speaking to reporters in Washington, also said he saw “a bit of irony and double standard” in Obama’s decision, given outrage from the left about leaks of information from hacked Democratic email accounts. Spicer said Manning had committed “a very, very serious crime.”