Last week, a lawsuit was filed against President Trump by the National Security Archive, an archive researcher, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The plaintiffs called for Trump to release the White House visitor logs to the public.
Despite this lawsuit, the White House announced on Friday that it would not be following in the footsteps of President Obama and releasing information about who the President has been meeting with.
Not surprisingly, Trump has received a significant amount of backlash for this announcement. The America Civil Liberties Union’s political director, Faiz Shakir, issued a statement shortly after the news broke saying that the American people “deserve to see government business conducted in transparent daylight.”
Shakir also commented on the timing of the White House’s announcement — right before a holiday weekend.
‘This “Good Friday” news dump is simply the latest in a series of efforts by President Trump to avoid public accountability, and it’s not the way to improve the people’s declining trust in this administration.’
Shakir went on to say that the only conclusion that can be drawn from the President’s secrecy is that he has something to hide.
‘Trump has bullied the press when they report on him. He has promoted the reporting of fake and outright false information. He imposed gags on federal employees in the earliest days of his administration. He has avoided disclosing his tax records, and he has avoided releasing information about his conflicts of interest.’
‘The only reasonable conclusion is to believe the Trump administration has many things it is trying to hide.’
In addition to an official statement, the ACLU also posted the following tweet about the matter:
Elected officials work for the people and we deserve to see government business conducted in transparent daylight. pic.twitter.com/9724NEVGIb
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 14, 2017
Shakir is not alone in thinking that President Trump and his staff are hiding something — or many things. David Donnelly, the president and chief executive of a government watchdog group called Every Voice told The Washington Post:
‘The only excuse for this policy is that the Trump administration has something to hide. This kind of secrecy will allow big donors, lobbyists and special interests to have unknown levels of influence in the White House.’
‘It’s the exact opposite of “draining the swamp.”‘
The president of Judicial Watch, another watchdog group, also commented:
‘This new secrecy policy undermines the rule of law and suggests this White House doesn’t want to be accountable to the American people.’
Not all responses to the White House’s decision have been negative, however. Andrew H. Card Jr., who was President George W. Bush’s chief of staff, said last week about the current President’s secrecy:
‘I tend to feel it’s the prerogative of the White House to have people come visit, and the public doesn’t need to know who they are. We don’t have a log on everybody who visits Congress, and they’re a coequal branch of government.’
Even a former Obama staffer, Christina Reynolds, who served as director of media fairs, said that she understood why Trump has made this decision.
‘If your only guide is whether you’re going to get bad stories, it’s more understandable.’
Trump certainly seems to want to avoid “bad stories.” Unfortunately for him, though, they are still coming as a result of this announcement, and they don’t show any sign of stopping.
Featured image via Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images.