Sarah Huckabee Sanders had the day off (allegedly planned well in advance) and the daily Press giving was given for the first time by Raj Shah, the Principal Deputy Press Secretary. The bulk of questions were about recently resigned Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who despite strong initial support from Chief-of-Staff John Kelly, quit under fire after allegations of physical abuse of his two ex-wives came out.
Shah read an initial statement about the government process for doing background checks and the length and sanctity of the process. He then opened it up for questions from the press, and it all went downhill from there. It was likely only coincidental that a split-screen showed the last half-hour of the Stock Market results which were steadily dropping as he spoke. The press conference and the stock market closed at approximately the same time, with the final result being a loss of 1,032.52 points in the market and a comparable drop in White House credibility
What we can ascertain from his responses were that the allegations were known, but people are claiming not to have seen the pictures that caused the public to focus on the situation. We also found that when hired by the Trump White House, you can handle classified materials first and get your security clearance at some indefinite time later… if ever. We are to believe that the investigation was still ongoing and that the credibility of Porter’s denials was just as important as the claims of the women.
Perhaps the lowlight of the press briefing was when asked about Omarosa, who made comments about her term at the White House on “Celebrity Big Brother,” including, “it’s sad.” Shah responded, “We fired her four times,” including three stints on “Celebrity Apprentice” as if they were the same as her role at the White House. He said, “She had limited contact with the President then… and none now.”
When Raj Shah gets his evaluation, he’ll learn he wasn’t nasty enough to the media, took too many follow-up questions, appeared to be a pushover, and didn’t lie enough, leaving impressions embarrassing to the White House. Welcome to the jungle!