Donald Trump Calls White House Leakers “Traitors” and Vows to “Find Out Who They Are”

But no apology for aide’s insult of John McCain.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a Republican campaign rally last Thursday. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

On Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump called the recent leaks at the White House an “over exaggeration” put out by the “fake news” media to make the administration look bad. He then made a familiar call:

Trump’s latest threat came amid backlash, after it was reported that White House special assistant Kelly Sadler had mocked Sen. John McCain, who is suffering from brain cancer, in a closed-door meeting last week. After McCain came out in opposition to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, Sadler said that “it doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway,” the Hill reported, citing a source familiar with what was said. (The White House has opted not to apologize for Sadler’s comments.)

Over the weekend, Axios reported that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders berated her staff for the leaks, telling them: “I am sure this conversation is going to leak, too. And that’s just disgusting.” (Indeed, Sanders’ rant was promptly leaked.) On Sunday, an administration official explained to Axios’ Jonathan Swan why Team Trump is such a sieve: “The first is personal vendettas. And two is to make sure there’s an accurate record of what’s really going on in the White House.”

President Trump has long fumed over White House leaks and has sought to crack down on them. In March, he slammed “leaking, lying and corruption” at the FBI, State Department, and Justice Department. But, as BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner points out, the president sometimes leaks, too. 

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate