During a brief press gaggle Wednesday with the pool of reporters assigned to Air Force One while en route to President Donald Trump's visit to The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about MSNBC's decision to publish the president's 2005 Form 1040.
His response was everything we've come to expect from "Spicy."
Specifically, he was asked by an unidentified reporter if the president intended to take any legal action against the network or its bosses at NBC News. The spokesman said, in reply:
I'd have to follow up with the president's personal lawyer. But, I mean, there's several issues there that are concerning with how they did it.
Number one, it is illegal to publish somebody's individual tax returns. That's against the law. And it's ironic, of all institutions, to have NBC News, in so many ways, brag about something like that. They are an institution—and then not only did they violate it, but then they went on last night and through today and questioned the president's integrity by whether or not he put them out.
It's ironic that a news institution like NBC News, that has sat in the briefing room day after day and questioned our integrity, and questioned whether or not we had the proof for certain issues and allegations and policies, and then sat there and speculated openly, and pushed a narrative about whether the president was behind this. It's despicable and reprehensible, and they should be ashamed of themselves as how they conducted themselves regarding this entire episode.
But, keep in mind, the question came from a member of the liberal mainstream media. They wouldn't be "doing their job" if they didn't confirm the new conspiracy theory thrown out by MSNBC: that Trump—or a member of his staff—intentionally leaked the documents, knowing they would be reported upon.
Spicer took exception to the question:
"I think it's offensive to ask that question. And I think that, frankly, how NBC News handled this, and the idea that they made a spectacle of it just shows how desperate they are for ratings."
Asked if now that the 2005 Form 1040 provided "good news" for the president, why hasn't he just released "the numbers" from the remaining years in the decade prior to running for office, Spicer offered another epic response:
"Number one, those numbers were obtained and released to us illegally. They were provided to us by them, to ask us for comment. But to sort of use one illegal act, and then say we should act further on that is somewhat preposterous. The president has asked and answered this issue over and over again throughout the campaign and multiple times since he's been president.
"So the issue still stands. And I think to use the fruit to talk about, well, because they obtained one year illegally, we should respond in kind with several years, is preposterous."
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