Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) twisted himself into knots while trying to both defend Trump’s tweets and explain why they aren’t official policy during a CNN interview.
Transcript via CNN:
CAMEROTA: They are on a forum that we can all read, so why wouldn’t you say they’re official presidential statements?
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COLLINS: Well, because — it’s like in my case, as well. Official statements are typically — you know, four, five, six, and in his case probably more people, look at all the nuances of an official press release or an official statement. It goes through legal. It goes through, you know, different filters if you will, versus a tweet is unfiltered, and so I heard someone say it’s a view into Donald Trump’s mind or his thoughts and it is —
COLLINS: — but it hasn’t been filtered through six other people. You could call it more direct and because of that —
CAMEROTA: Yes, it’s pure. I hear what you’re saying. It’s actually a more pure thought of his, so that —
COLLINS: And that’s why his supporters love it. They really, really do.
CAMEROTA: Of course. I hear them say that, as well, but that leads us to our next question of so do we take them seriously? Do we take those to the bank?
COLLINS: You take them seriously because they are our president’s thoughts. However, the nuances — at the end, there will be a certain filter they go through when they become official policy. I mean, the attorneys always either water things down or, you know, look at the various nuances so there is a balance. And I understand it’s a very narrow road I’m talking about but, you know, that’s — we need to look at official statements that have been filtered for the policy but, meanwhile, the tweets are that unfiltered look as to how President Trump is looking at the world, considering whether it’s terrorism, whether it’s travel, whether it’s whatever it may be — jobs, the economy, tax reform —
COLLINS: — health reform. I think it’s, frankly, refreshing.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, it’s also confusing.
COLLINS: Well, it can be but, you know, he’s focused on his supporters, his base, and let’s go back to his base really does appreciate what he’s doing.
According to Rep. Collins (R-NY), we shouldn’t take Trump’s tweets seriously because they aren’t official statements of policy, but we should take Trump’s tweets seriously because they are unfiltered Trump.
The defense that Collins offered contradicts itself while making zero sense. What Republicans are trying to avoid is the reality that when the president speaks, it is an official statement. There is no parsing, and saying that statements count in one format, but not another.
When Donald Trump spouts crazy conspiracy theories, attacks US allies, and spreads fake news on social media, those are all official statements.
Watching Collins trying to both defend and minimize Trump’s tweets was painful, and it revealed just how big of a liability Trump is to Republicans heading into 2018.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association