This is rich.
The President repeatedly lying is devastating to US credibility around world. If people can’t believe what US gov is saying how can we lead? https://t.co/NoYdc2a0JZ
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) March 7, 2017
This is a pretty good example of “right message, wrong messenger.” Yes, Donald Trump‘s tweet about Guantanamo detainees this morning was blatantly false. And yes, the torrent of falsehoods from the Trump White House damages his credibility and will come back to bite us when he seeks to make assurances to our allies. Those are serious concerns.
But man oh man, Ben Rhodes is not one to talk here. He’s the former Obama communications staffer, you’ll recall, who caused a scandal by giving an interview to New York Times Magazine where he more or less bragged about how he deceived reporters and the American public and created a false narrative about the Iran nuclear deal.
“The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented…was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal,” The New York Times reported. “Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false.”
“They literally know nothing,” Rhodes said of the average foreign policy reporter. He talked about how the White House created an “echo chamber” by propping up experts who would just repeat talking points. He joked with the interviewer about how certain high-profile reporters could always be counted on to parrot whatever they told them. Again, he said this all on-the-record in an interview with nation’s top paper.
Likewise, perhaps an Obama staffer isn’t the best person isn’t the person to talk about “US credibility around [the] world” and complains that “if people can’t believe what US gov is saying how can we lead?” Rhodes was of course also involved in defending the Obama administration’s Syrian red line. That was such an egg in the face of U.S. credibility that even Hillary Clinton insisted during the campaign she had nothing to with it (falsely, as it happens).
I don’t say this all to act as though every ill of the Obama administration justifies or overshadows those of the Trump administration. But when it comes to lecturing others on credibility, Rhodes ironically lacks any.
[Image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.