Yesterday Susan Wright quoted Donald Trump’s comments at a Cabinet meeting in which he called the U.S. justice system a “laughingstock.” Here are the relevant remarks from the official transcript:
That was a horrible event, and we have to stop it, and we have to stop it cold. We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They’ll go through court for years. And at the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens.
We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place. And I think I can speak for plenty of other countries, too, that are in the same situation.
(He followed that up with Twitter comments calling for the death penalty for the terrorist, which is stupid and will create issues for the prosecution, but gets him a quick chance to Look Tough on Twitter — and which is more important, after all?)
Amusingly, the White House spokeshole, Sarah F-word-abee Sanders, later denied Trump had said that, in an exchange with showboat Jim Acosta.
A few hours after Trump’s Cabinet meeting, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock?”
“That’s not what he said,” Sanders replied. “He said that process has people calling us a joke and a laughingstock.”
That is what he said. You can watch it yourself. CNBC put together video of both sets of remarks (set to annoying music).
Trump calls US justice system ‘a laughing stock,’ White House denies it from CNBC.
It seems like a prepared answer, which means she had to . . . prepare it. Which means she had to watch footage of Trump’s remarks and create a response.
Which means her response was a premeditated lie.
If the White House could stop lying, I could stop talking about how they lie.
The absolute best case scenario is that this is an accidental misstatement. In which case a) this woman is totally incompetent, and b) they need to fix it. But of course they won’t. Never ever admit error about anything. That’s their motto.
P.S. This is a post about White House lies, and not about what Trump said. But since people will discuss the latter in the comments, I’ll add a word about that. The justice system is not a laughingstock. But, to the extent that Trump’s remarks could be interpreted as the way the judicial system deals with the death penalty, his words have some justice. The treatment of the death penalty in this country (and in my state of California) is indeed a joke, with lawmakers not taking it seriously and throwing as many obstacles in the way of its enforcement as possible.
That does not justify lying, though.