Consider Trump's tweets to be 'official statements,' says Spicer
The press secretary's stance conflicts with two other White House aides.
— -- President Donald Trump’s tweets should be considered official statements, according to Trump’s top spokesperson.
“The president is the president of the United States, so they're considered official statements by the president of the United States,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.
Spicer’s comments refute the argument made by two Trump advisers that what the president posts on Twitter is simply social media.
Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant and a national security adviser to the president, on Monday firmly stated Trump’s tweets should not equate to statements of substance or administration policy.
“It's not policy, it's not an executive order. It's social media,” Gorka said in an interview on CNN's "New Day."
In an interview with NBC’s “The Today Show,” Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway downplayed Trump’s tweets and said there’s an “obsession with covering everything Trump says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.”
Spicer did not provide a specific answer when asked at Tuesday's press briefing if Trump was concerned that his tweets Monday could be used against him in the ongoing legal battle over the travel ban executive order.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to [the Supreme Court],” Trump said in just one of many tweets aimed at his Justice Department and immigration executive order.
Federal court decisions have already cited statements by Trump on the campaign trail, as well as comments by aides, in decisions as judges sought to determine intent.
In one such ruling in March, a Hawaiian federal court judge pointed to Trump's own claims that his revised travel ban was merely a "watered-down" version of the first order which had already been blocked by a federal judge -- a decision later upheld in an appellate circuit. Trump repeated the sentiment twice Monday.
When asked if Trump’s tweets are hindering his ability to get things done, Spicer defended Trump as the “most effective messenger.”
"The president is the most effective messenger on his agenda and I think his use of social media -- he now has a collective total of close to 110 million across different platforms -- gives him an opportunity to speak straight to the American people, which has proved to be a very, very effective tool," said Spicer, echoing a noting Trump himself promoted on Twitter Tuesday morning.
"The same people critiquing his use of it now critiqued it during the election and it turned out pretty well for him then," said Spicer.