Why The Trump White House Leaks So Much

Donald Trump

Last week, the political world was in an uproar over White House aide Kelly Sadler declaring during a meeting in the West Wing that Sen. John McCain’s opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel was largely not important because “he’s dying anyway.”

Not a kind way to speak about a man who’s devoted his whole life to service to country.

Today, the White House is trying the spin the story into a “leak” scandal.

“When you work in any work environment…if you aren’t able in internal meetings to speak your mind, or convey thoughts, or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a very difficult work environment,” said White House press secretary Raj Shah.

Writing for Axios, Jonathan Swan took time to explore why the Trump White House has so many leaks to the press.

“To be honest, it probably falls into a couple of categories,” one current White House official tells me. “The first is personal vendettas. And two is to make sure there’s an accurate record of what’s really going on in the White House.”

“To cover my tracks, I usually pay attention to other staffers’ idioms and use that in my background quotes. That throws the scent off me,” the current White House official added.

“The most common substantive leaks are the result of someone losing an internal policy debate,” a current senior administration official told me. “By leaking the decision, the loser gets one last chance to kill it with blowback from the public, Congress or even the President.”

“Otherwise,” the official added, “you have to realize that working here is kind of like being in a never-ending ‘Mexican Standoff.’ Everyone has guns (leaks) pointed at each other and it’s only a matter of time before someone shoots. There’s rarely a peaceful conclusion so you might as well shoot first.”

Axios‘ Mike Allen, who covered the White House for 20 years, says “we learn more about what’s going on inside the Trump White House in a week than we did in a year of the George W. Bush presidency.”