White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fed reporters and the public a whopper of an alternative fact at Thursday’s media briefing, denying that President Trump said something that is, in reality, on tape.
Fox News Radio’s Jon Decker tried to pose a question that he said “has to do with a story which appeared first in The Washington Post about an audio portion from a fundraiser the president had in Missouri, in which he said he was not exactly truthful in his conversation with his counterpart from Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau.”
Sanders cut off Decker there.
“That's actually not what he said,” she asserted.
Yes, it is what he said.
As Decker noted, Trump was in Missouri on Wednesday to raise money for Republican Josh Hawley, the state attorney general who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in November’s election. The president regaled the crowd of donors with this anecdote, a recording of which was obtained by The Post:
Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, “No, no, we have no trade deficit with you. We have none. Donald, please.” Nice guy, good-looking, comes in: “Donald, we have no trade deficit.” He was very proud because everybody else, you know, were getting killed with our — so he’s [unintelligible]. I said, “Wrong, Justin, you do.” I didn’t even know. Josh, I had no idea. I just said, “You’re wrong.”
The United States actually runs a surplus with Canada, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Sanders, like Trump in a tweet earlier Thursday, disputed the official government accounting, saying that “they’re not taking into account some of the other things, like energy and timber.”
The White House’s math is bogus. Read the Fact Checker for a full explanation of this four-Pinocchio claim.
But whether the United States runs a surplus or deficit with Canada is actually beside the point. The point is that Trump, by his own admission, did not know whether there is a surplus or deficit yet claimed that he did know in his conversation with Trudeau.
Trump was dishonest, plain and simple. The president feigned knowledge he did not possess, saying, “Wrong, Justin, you do” — as if Trump knew what he was talking about — when, in truth, he “had no idea.”
For Sanders to deny that Trump “said he was not exactly truthful,” as Decker put it, is brazen even by the standard of this White House.